LIVEr Champion

2019 Mid-South LIVEr Champion, Aiden Smith

On Sunday, October 9, 2016 Aiden Smith was born to Janell and Brandon Smith.   He was welcomed into a loving family with big sister Janiya excited about his birth.    The whole family fell in love instantly with their new baby boy.  However, Janell started to notice that something wasn’t right.   She noticed that Aiden’s eyes were  getting more jaundiced and he seemed to be sleeping more than usual.  She  then made an appointment with Aiden’s primary care physician and requested that his bilirubin be checked. At that time the doctor reassured her that everything would be fine but the next day the doctor called and gave her news that would change their lives forever .

The doctor called and advised her that he  suspected Biliary Atresia. He explained that  it is a rare, life-threatening disease that affects the liver in newborns.  Where the liver’s bile ducts are damaged or blocked so the bile cannot drain properly and instead builds up, damaging the liver.  This damage leads to scarring and cirrhosis.  He told her that he had already made an appointment with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for that day and it was imperative that they go.

On December 7th, Aiden had the appointment with the liver specialist , on the 9th a liver biopsy and  on the 12th the Kasai procedure. The Kasai is a life saving corrective operation, where a piece of the small intestine is rerouted and attached to the liver to help drain the excess bile and increase liver function.  In 1/3 of Biliary Atresia cases, the Kasai is unsuccessful, and the infant requires a liver transplant.  In Aiden’s case he had recurring  episodes of cholangitis , which is an infection of the bile ducts that caused him to be listed for transplant.

Aiden received his “gift of life” on November 17, 2017.

A mom knows when something is wrong with her child and dealing with this liver disease has been difficult, but both Janell and Brandon have been thankful for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. They feel that God relocated them here from Texas for Aiden.

As with many transplants, it can take a few call-ins before you receive the organ.   On the third attempt, the Smith’s knew the drill.    After a 7-hour surgery, Aiden had a new Liver.

Aiden is doing well and growing up to be a strong little boy every day.   Vanderbilt continues to check Aiden and make sure he is not in rejection or having any other complications .   Aiden is a bright,  happy toddler and is fortunate to have a loving and caring family at his side, along with a dedicated Mom who followed her intuition.


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