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One-year-old Gets Life-saving Liver Donation From Stranger

Update Date: Dec 03, 2015 08:35 AM EST
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Diana Rotter is an amazing liver donor. A 'hero' for the recipient family of one-year-old Natalia Walker.

It happened during a multi-hour operation last week. The act of kindness has stunned the baby's parents, according to TODAY.

"I cannot fathom how somebody can be so selfless," Diane Walker, Natalia's mom, told TODAY. "Somebody who would just go on the operating table. She had nothing to gain from it, so it's humbling... it's an amazing person."

Walker, at Manassas, Virginia, is a stranger to Rotter. And now, they seem to be sharing an extremely close bond---baby Natalia's life.

Born on Nov. 17, 2014, Natalia had jaundice, as her bile ducts had not formed correctly. They trapped bile, which built up and spilt into bloodstream and finally damaged the liver.

The biliary atresia kills many babies within the first two years if there is no medical intervention, according to Dr. Thomas Fishbein, Natalia's doctor and executive director of the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute.

A surgery to fix her blocked liver failed. So by April, she was put on the national organ transplant waiting list.

Your liver keeps you healthy, and is also the only body part that regenerates. Hence, a living donor can give part of it to anyone, and then make it regenerate itself in three months, even as it grows in the recipient's body too, Fishbein said.

As the parents were over the required weight, and other relatives too could not make the mark, they put the baby on the organ transplant waiting list.

"You just don't know what to expect. You don't know if the call is going to come. You're just waiting," Walker said. "My baby would not live without a liver."

On July, during the christening for Natalia, Joy, a former co-worker friend was astounded to hear about Natalia's condition. She went home crying and informed her daughter Diana Rotter: "This baby is not going to survive without a liver."

"My mom had been talking about them in general for months," Rotter, 30, who lives in Denton, Maryland, told TODAY. "She asked me if I would ever consider donating my liver... and I said sure."

Hence, Diana Rotter became the hero of the hour.

From mid-August to November, Rotter went through the lengthy process, subjecting herself to a blood test, an MRI, an angiogram and a number of other examinations.

Meanwhile, the baby was declining so finally, the doctors said: "we need to pull the trigger now."

"This baby had very advanced cirrhosis," Fishbein noted. "She would have died within another couple of months."

Rotter's surgery took about four hours, and Natalia's eight hours. "She was put together like a jigsaw puzzle that was put together wrong on the inside. Things were all in the wrong place," explained Dr Fishbein.

And at last, Diane Walker was transported. "Last year, we were thankful for the baby and now we're just thankful that we've gained so many new members to our family," Walker said. "Now we're related: Diana is a part of my daughter so we've gained new family. Diana has given my daughter a chance to live."

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