Nemours surgeons perform first successful liver transplant in Jamaica

Dr. Stephen Dunn of Nemours Hospital, his team, perform liver transplant

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor

KINGSTON, Jamaica - According to historians, the first successful liver transplant happened in 1967. It's hard to believe the beautiful island of Jamaica had its first successful liver transplant this year, just a couple of days ago, and it was all thanks to surgeons from Nemours.

Among the beautiful green hills and sunshine of Kingston, Jamaica, sit many families who need lifesaving surgeries.

"It opens up a lifesaving therapy for children who don't have access to that," said Dr. Stephen Dunn, of Nemours Children's Health System.  Nemours is headquartered in Jacksonville.

Dunn left the United States to provide those much needed surgeries on the peaceful island. Dunn and his team performed the first liver transplant in Jamaica at Bustamante Children's Hospital this week.

The patient was 13-month-old Zaiden, from Montego Bay. Zaiden suffers from a condition in which the bile ducts in the liver are blocked. When the bile is unable to leave the liver through the ducts, the liver becomes damaged, and many vital bodily functions are affected.

Despite this new medical frontier on the island, Zaiden's mother, Tannila Gordon, remained optimistic.

"I am confident in them. I know they are specialists. I know they are experts, and they know what they are doing," Gordon said. "With them and God, I think everything is in the right hands."

Zaiden's father, Jermaine Clarke, is his donor. Gordon waited patiently as doctors operated on her baby boy. After surgery, Dunn was happy with the results.

"Things went very well," Dunn said. "Lots of different people, new ways of doing things, but essentially, we got the same results we would get in the United States."

Though the final surgery is complete, Dunn and the rest of the Nemours team will stay on the island to save and transform more lives.

Both Zaiden and his father are now recovering. On Friday, the same team from Nemours performed the second transplant on the island.

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