An 11-month-old girl has returned to Galway after a lifesaving liver transplant in London proved successful. Ieva Zukaskuate of Rahoon received a graft from her mother’s liver during a complex operation at King’s Cross Hospital. After complications which included two leaks in a valve and a subsequent infection, Ieva was allowed to return home this week.
Ieva was born with biliary atresia, an extremely rare disorder which affects fewer than one in 10,000 babies born every year. The disease blocks the bile duct between the liver and the small intestine and the ensuing build-up of bile can eventually cause liver failure. She had previously undergone two operations but neither had proved successful.
Ieva is the youngest daughter of Lithuanian parents Andrew and Christina Zukaskaute, who have been living in Ireland for the past seven years. Christina works at the Sewing Studio on Shop Street with Audrey Cassidy, the child’s godmother.
“She came into the shop here on Friday and looked fantastic, she really looks much healthier. We feel the operation has been a success so it’s just a matter of recovery now,” said Ms Cassidy.
The story captured the hearts of the public and a number of fundraising initiatives took place around the area. The Baby Ieva fund at AIB in Lynch’s Castle raised more than €4,500, while Andrew’s employers, HID in Spiddal, donated €5,000. Barna National School also raised more than €500 with a special bake sale.