Transplantation procedure saves little girl's life - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Transplantation procedure saves little girl's life

Posted: Updated:

Each year, 20,000 people in the United States stand in need of blood or bone marrow transplantation. These patients have leukemia, lymphoma or other illnesses that can often be  successfully treated with this procedure.

Children's of Alabama is the only pediatric bone marrow transplant facility in Alabama. In the past 13-years, more than 180 children have received life-saving transplants at the hospital.

Transplantation treatment is not always the first line of defense for most childhood cancers and illnesses. There are certain cases when emergency transplants are needed right away to ensure survival. But there usually has to be  donor with a match.

We spoke with the father of a young girl whose life was saved thanks to a decision her parents made when she was born.

"She overall was a healthy, individual four year old, there were some skin indicators that led into bruising and other indicators, but overall we didn't think she was of poor health," said Blaine House.

House said his daughter Maisie, who was four at the time, was not tired or complaining of any problems. But her skin bruised easily. Much too easily. House and his wife made an appointment with their pediatrician, which led to another appointment at Children's of Alabama.

"They had us an appointment here at the oncology center to start running tests," said House

Maisie was diagnosed with a severe blood condition.

"Severe aplastic anemia, which is a failure of all three blood counts. Your bone marrow fails. It ends the production of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets."

The condition causes the immune system to shut down. In Alabama, just five to ten children are diagnosed each year. House says the news was overwhelming. But a decision he and his wife made at the time of their daughter's birth proved critical.

"At the time we had saved Maisie's umbilical cord from her birth," he said.

Doctor Fred Goldman says it was nothing short of a miracle. Goldman performed a cord blood transplant on Maisie. It's a term he says is now interchangeable with other common terms for the procedure.

"We interchange the word now cord blood, perf blood stem cell, bone marrow transplant, they all mean the same thing because the cells that are in those different places are the baby cells that are able to make the cells of the bone marrow," said Goldman.

Here's how does transplantation works:

First a patient undergoes chemotherapy to wipe out the bad cells. Doctor Goldman says the new transplant cells are smart. They know exactly where to go once they are injected into the blood stream.

"They make their way into the bone marrow where they set up house. And it takes several weeks to months for those cells to actually start making functional red blood cells and white blood cells and platelets," said Goldman.

But not every parent has made the decision Maisie's did. They're left to depend on others for help. And that's when Goldman is forced to go on a time-sensitive search for a marrow match.

"The best chances are a brother or a sister. But the best chances of a brother or sister being a match is only one in four. So then you have to look outside of the family. So we then look into this registry called the national marrow donor program. But unfortunately if you're a minority, the likelihood of finding a donor is small."

Doctor Goldman says there is a good rule of thumb for those who wish to help.

"People who might donate blood on a routine basis might also consider being on the registry. And that is simply a swab of your cheek. And if you enroll then you're adding to the mix and improving the chances of a child finding a donor for their disease." 

Doctor Goldman is also working to get a cord blood bank in Birmingham. He says it's vital. If marrow donations are not a perfect match, then he could move on to the cord blood bank, which does not have to be a perfect match to perform a transplant. 

For more information visit https://www.childrensal.org/

or http://www.nmdp.org/

 

  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Update: Body found in bakery truck

    Update: Body found in bakery truck

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:23 AM EDT2014-07-28 14:23:31 GMT
    A Homewood bakery got its missing truck back less than one hour after asking for help on social media. Two people saw the plea for help on social media and spotted it on their way home from a Barons game.More >>
    A Homewood bakery got its missing truck back less than one hour after asking for help on social media. Two people saw the plea for help on social media and spotted it on their way home from a Barons game.More >>
  • Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:08:43 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
  • Woman doused with gasoline and burned by ex-boyfriend

    Woman doused with gasoline and burned by ex-boyfriend

    Sunday, July 27 2014 5:04 PM EDT2014-07-27 21:04:38 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Update: Body found in bakery truck

    Update: Body found in bakery truck

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:23 AM EDT2014-07-28 14:23:31 GMT
    A Homewood bakery got its missing truck back less than one hour after asking for help on social media. Two people saw the plea for help on social media and spotted it on their way home from a Barons game.More >>
    A Homewood bakery got its missing truck back less than one hour after asking for help on social media. Two people saw the plea for help on social media and spotted it on their way home from a Barons game.More >>
  • Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:39 GMT
    David PittsDavid Pitts
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
  • Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:08:43 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
  • Woman doused with gasoline and burned by ex-boyfriend

    Woman doused with gasoline and burned by ex-boyfriend

    Sunday, July 27 2014 5:04 PM EDT2014-07-27 21:04:38 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
  • A triple shooting leaves one person dead

    A triple shooting leaves one person dead

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-07-27 15:51:55 GMT
    One person is dead and two others in juried in an early morning shooting in Ensley. Birmingham Police report incident occurred in the 1600 Block of Avenue I. Around 2:30 a.m. police were called to the location and found the victim lying face down in the street suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. Birmingham Fire and Rescue also responded to the scene and pronounced the victim deceased at the scene. The name of the victim has not yet been released pending notification of relatives. Ther...More >>
    One person is dead and two others in juried in an early morning shooting in Ensley. Birmingham Police report incident occurred in the 1600 Block of Avenue I. Around 2:30 a.m. police were called to the location and found the victim lying face down in the street suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. Birmingham Fire and Rescue also responded to the scene and pronounced the victim deceased at the scene. The name of the victim has not yet been released pending notification of relatives. Ther...More >>
  • Judge Rules Benz Plant Violated Labor Laws

    Judge Rules Benz Plant Violated Labor Laws

    Saturday, July 26 2014 11:29 PM EDT2014-07-27 03:29:07 GMT
    A judge has ruled Mercedes-Benz U.S. International violated labor laws while dealing with employees interested in forming a labor union.An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board ordered MBUSI to revise rules in its employee handbook governing the solicitation and distribution of materials at its auto manufacturing plant in Vance.The United Auto Workers accused Mercedes managers of stymieing pro-union employees' efforts to distribute information about the union.Mercede...More >>
    A judge has ruled Mercedes-Benz U.S. International violated labor laws while dealing with employees interested in forming a labor union.An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board ordered MBUSI to revise rules in its employee handbook governing the solicitation and distribution of materials at its auto manufacturing plant in Vance.The United Auto Workers accused Mercedes managers of stymieing pro-union employees' efforts to distribute information about the union.Mercede...More >>
  • Glen Allen man killed in accident involving logging truck

    Glen Allen man killed in accident involving logging truck

    Saturday, July 26 2014 6:17 PM EDT2014-07-26 22:17:25 GMT
    Alabama State Troopers say a 63 year old man from Glen Allen was killed in a two vehicle crash in Fayette County. It happened Friday night on County Road 73.More >>
    Alabama State Troopers say a 63 year old man from Glen Allen was killed in a two vehicle crash in Fayette County. It happened Friday night on County Road 73.More >>
  • Shooting victim's wife and sons want answers concerning homicide investigation

    Shooting victim's wife and sons want answers concerning homicide investigation

    Saturday, July 26 2014 6:11 PM EDT2014-07-26 22:11:45 GMT
    Family members grieve the loss of a 37-year-old man shot dead. Birmingham police are investigating. A family is asking questions as police hear conflicting stories.More >>
    Family members grieve the loss of a 37-year-old man shot dead. Birmingham police are investigating. A family is asking questions as police hear conflicting stories.
    More >>