Mooresville baby’s life saved after woman donates part of her liver

Silas was born with a rare genetic condition that caused multiple illnesses.
Silas was born with a rare genetic condition that caused multiple illnesses.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 6:51 PM EDT
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MOORSEVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - Before you read any further about Silas Patterson, please know you guys saved this baby’s life. That’s according to his mother.

Here’s what Christine Patterson said from her home in Mooresville, direct quote:

”Because you wrote about him for #MollysKids, and because everyone shared those two posts, our son’s story was able to reach a larger audience,” Christine said. “His story made its way down to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where a woman named Michele Pothier saw it. She’s a nurse. She was moved by the words from those posts, and applied to be Silas’s living donor. She flew to Pittsburgh to get evaluated and was a match. She then flew back to Pittsburgh weeks later and donated a portion of her liver to Silas.”

I had to reread that quote from Christine three times. Let’s recap: Because you guys read and shared Baby Silas’s story, a woman in Florida flew to Pennsylvania to save this North Carolina baby.

”I will be forever grateful,” Christine went on to write. “Thank you, and all those who follow these stories about amazing #MollysKids in our community.”

Christine said in addition to Michele apply to be a living donor for Silas, over 25 people applied to help him, most, Christine says, after seeing the #MollysKids posts and comments here. Most who applied were not a match. Which, she said, is not surprising.

Pediatric living-donor transplants can be difficult to match due to size, weight, etc. She says criteria is much stricter than with adult transplants. Christine’s long written update was filled with joy, relief, gratitude and, yes, exhaustion.

The ride with Silas has been up-and-down, and at one point things were getting worse before they got better. For those who remember the first two posts, Silas was born with a rare genetic condition that caused multiple illnesses, and most of those were potentially deadly.

His mom said things were really critical when the University of Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital came through and said they could perform open heart surgery on him. That was last June, and that surgery did help him improve, temporarily. But weeks later, things went downhill.

”He got really sick after recovering from open heart surgery,” Christine said. “Because Silas has Biliary Atresia, his liver function continued to decline until he was in End Stage Liver Disease. It was then that I wrote you and the two posts came out. Things were a whirlwind, and as Silas was turning one in August, his kidneys began to fail. Everything got worse. He was put on dialysis and our faith was being tested. I really can’t describe how terrifying the experience was. Our baby boy—who should’ve been playing and crawling—was confined to a hospital bed in an induced-coma.”

Silas was in that induced coma for three months.

”His body just couldn’t handle what was happening,” Christine said. “He developed Sepsis (Septic Shock) and needed many blood transfusions. At that point he was even too sick for a transplant. It was our worst nightmare coming true.”

While all this was happening, YOU GUYS were sharing his story. Some of you emailed me and I sent your emails directly on to Christine. She replied to each and every person who reached out to inquire about organ donation.

”It was truly amazing!” Christine said. “Just the sincere caring from complete strangers. And though most people weren’t a match, the story did make it down to Michele and right about the time we found out she was a match, Silas got a brief window where his lab numbers improved enough to put him back on the transplant list as active. The donation occurred on September 5, 2022. Her liver will regenerate, and Silas’s piece will continue to grow with him as well.”

Isn’t this amazing? Michele: If you see this, you gave this little boy’s parents a chance to watch him grow. You are a hero. How is Silas doing now?

”Better than expected,” Christine said. “For a child labeled high-risk, with an increased chance of complications and failure, he has recovered well. No episodes of rejection so far. He had such a rough first year of life, that he does have catching up to do milestone-wise. He has been in therapy since November trying to rebuild strength, is still on a trach, and a ventilator most of the time. He still takes meals through his g-tube. But, he is getting stronger each day.”

Spending Christmas at home together was a special moment, Christine says, and since then the family continues to manage daily challenges of home nursing, medication schedules, weekly labs, doctor’s appointments, and frequent hospital stays.

”I sometimes call myself Silas’s ‘mom-ager,’ Christine said. “I’m endlessly talking with case managers, insurance reps, nursing companies, therapists, etc. All of this - and recurring visits to the hospital which can be scary - are just part of life now.”

But you’ve got to know, Christine, what he’s accomplished so far is remarkable. That’s when she threw it back to thank all of you:

”#MollysKids benefits families in ways that can be big and small,” she said. “Just feeling like your child has people reading about them is remarkable...awareness for illness helps. Words of encouragement make families trapped in hospitals feel good. We appreciated getting to share our ‘look behind the curtain’ moment with everyone who read those posts. And then to know that Michele saw it, and gave the ultimate gift? We can’t say thank you enough to those who follow along and shared our son’s journey. We are grateful for this community. Our family has connected with other amazing #MollysKids families and while all of us have children with rare diseases that can feel isolating, we are able to see that we are not alone.”

I’m not crying. I’m not. I promise.

Thank you, guys, for making this page heart-full, and rewarding.

- Molly