PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A St. Louis father provided a life-saving liver transplant for his 15-month-old daughter at UPMC Children’s Hospital.
It’s been a long road in the short life of Autumn Pillman.
The 15-month-old was born with a rare liver disease called biliary atresia.
It’s a blockage of the bile ducts and can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, which is deadly if it goes untreated.
Pillman was diagnosed with the disease at 9 weeks old.
She had her first surgery a week later, and not long after that, she was put on the transplant list.
Autumn’s parents Michael and Kailey, who live in St. Louis, didn’t know how long it would take for their daughter to find a liver.
So they ended up going a different route.
“We were watching our daughter die basically,” said Kailey Pillman. “If it weren’t for the fact that UPMC expedited her process, I don’t know where we’d be right now.”
They landed at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh and found the perfect match for Autumn.
“Everybody’s like, ‘You’re a hero.’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m not a hero.’ I’m doing what any dad or mom would do for their child,” Michael Pillmam said.
Michael Pillman passed the test and was a match for his daughter so he donated part of his liver to Autumn and the pair went under the knife on Feb. 13.
The surgeries were a success.
“She looks like a totally different kid. With the jaundice, we lived her entire life with her yellow. Yellow eyes, yellow skin. Now she’s a beautiful peachy pink,” the couple said.
“She has 15 percent of her dad’s liver, which is just the right size for a baby,” said Dr. George Mazariegos with UPMC Children’s Hospital.
“The miracle is it grows back in both Autumn and dad in just the right amount that was meant to be,” said Dr. Mazariegos.
“For the most part, she will be able to return to a normal, happy healthy kid. Just has to take some medicine,” said Kailey Pillman.