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Tuesday, 27 February, 2001, 10:52 GMT
Transplant girl 'on borrowed time'
Jon Salmon and daughter Bethany
Jon Salmon fears is daughter may not undergo transplant surgery
Ministers have launched a drive to increase the number of donor organs available for transplant. There is a desperate shortage of such organs in the UK, and some doctors fear the controversy surrounding the Alder Hey Children's Hospital organ retention scandal may make the situation even worse. BBC News Online reports on the case of one seriously ill little girl.


One-year-old Bethany Salmon waiting for a liver and small bowel transplant could die within days unless a donor is found.

When Bethany was first admitted to hospital last August doctors said that without a double transplant she had only six months to live.

But seven months later she is still waiting for appropriate donor organs.


we knew that for the ten days after Alder Hey there was no chance of something coming up for her

Jon Salmon, father
Bethany was born with the extremely rare Hirschsprung's disease.

She is being fed by intravenous drip - but the nutrients keeping her alive are damaging her liver.

The donor must be less than six years old.

Bethany's father Jon fears that the controversy surrounding the Alder Hey Children's Hospital organ retention scandal may have damaged his daughter's chances of receiving life-saving organs.

He said: "For us, Alder Hey was devastating. It could have done serious damage to Bethany's potential chance of life in the future.

"At any time a donor could come forward for Bethany.

"But we knew that for the ten days after Alder Hey there was no chance of something coming up for her.

"Bethany is on borrowed time."

Bethany's mother, Sara, said: "It's so hard knowing that a child will have to die, a family will have to suffer, to save Bethany, but I have to fight for my little girl."

Race against time

Bethany Salmon
Bethany Salmon is seriously ill
Family friend Linda Sourris said: "Both organs have to come from the same child so the tissues match up and the blood supply can be linked.

"We are running out of time."

If a donor can be found, Bethany will immediately be taken from St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London, to the Birmingham Children's Hospital where a transplant operation will take place.

Bethany was born with one kidney, at East Surrey Hospital, in November 1999.

It was later discovered that 90% of her bowel was dead.

Mrs Salmon, 32, of Buckland, Surrey, spends five hours a day sitting by her daughter's bedside after dropping off her healthy five-year-old son Jamie at school.

She said: "This disease means there are no nerve cells in all or part of the bowel, so it doesn't respond to eating food and doesn't contract, so everything gets stuck.

"Surgeons found the whole bowel was affected and after an operation she was left with only 35cms - less than 10% of a normal bowel."

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