Family, friends help Voorheesville student fight liver failure

Dr. Cary Qualia, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Albany Medical Center, talked about liver failure.

"Sicker patients with more concerning laboratory values (such as the INR) are placed higher on the list, and become the most likely patients to receive livers from the donor pool," he said.

Since Jimmy is too small to accept an entire adult-sized liver, Qualia said Jimmy may be a candidate for a split liver transplant, where a portion of an adult liver is transplanted. A living person, typically a parent or sibling, can sometimes serve as the donor.

However, accepting a section of the liver is risky since there is the possibility that the body could reject it. The donor must be in excellent physical and psychological health and must undergo extensive evaluation prior to the surgery.

Pincheon said doctors are hoping Jimmy's liver will repair itself, and that he won't need a transplant. Qualia said this could be a possibility for him.

"In some situations, the liver can heal, depending on the underlying disease and how much of it is involved," he said.

At this point, for Pincheon and her two other sons, Justin, 19, and Jason, 18, dealing with the many unanswered questions about Jimmy's situation is the most frustrating part.

According to Pincheon, it is uncertain when Jimmy's condition will improve, and doctors still don't know what virus caused him to have liver failure.

"With 30 to 40 percent of the cases, they may not know what virus caused it," said Pincheon. "The whole family could have been somewhere, and it just chose to attack him."

Pincheon also mentioned how hard it's been watching her ailing son at a hospital right across from New York City's Central Park.

"I'll go outside every once and a while and see the kids playing, and wonder why my son can't be out playing with them," she said.

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