All David and Andrea Kirkpatrick ever wanted was a healthy baby. When Saylor was born, they thought their dreams had come true, until doctors delivered the devastating news.
Saylor was born with at liver disease and only a transplant could save her.
Andrea Kirkpatrick says on The Early Show, "We were discharged from the hospital with an elevated bilirubin count, which a lot of babies have that. We weren't really concerned about that. What got us concerned was she started getting sick at her stomach, couldn't hold anything down and her stomach was starting to swell. We took her to the doctor. That's when they sent us to the clinic in Jacksonville, the hospital there."
A liver biopsy determined the problem to be something only a liver transplant would solve. The Kirkpatricks both offered their livers, but their organs were too large to fit their little daughter.
Dr. Adela Casas-Melley, who operated on Saylor at the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children points out, "Saylor was very ill. She had been on the transplant list, very high on the transplant list because of her illness, for almost a month. And we had really not received any organ offers that were good for her because of her size. She was very little. She only weighed about 7.5 pounds when she came to us. So it really limited the number of organs we could use for her."
When Jason York, David's old classmate, learned of the news, he decided that he would be the one to give Saylor a second chance at life.
York says, "From the time I heard about it and contacted David and then, I just knew that I was going to be the one to do it. And I never had a second thought about it. I was never scared at all. I just knew everything was going to be all right."
When he heard the news, David Kirkpatrick says, "I didn't want him to do anything like that because I knew that there could be some consequences from the surgery. And we basically didn't want the burden of him going through anything like that, because he has a wife and two daughters also."
But York points out he decided to help out of compassion for what the Kirkpatricks were going through. He says, "Me and my wife lost our first child and I always told my wife if there was anything that I could ever do to help anybody else to keep from having to go through that, then I would do it in a minute."
Last month, Saylor received part of York's liver and is recovering.
Dr. Casas-Melley says Saylor is doing well. "She recovered beautifully from the surgery. She is actually ready to go home. The only reason she's still around is we're trying to get some of her medicines adjusted a little bit better and because they live a little bit further away, we want to keep her around a few more days, maybe even a week to make sure everything is OK before she goes back to Jacksonville."
About York, Andrea Kirkpatrick says, "He saved Saylor. There is no way we can ever repay Jason for what he did. He sacrificed himself and his family to save our daughter. There is nothing we can ever do to repay Jason for one of us."
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