S.A. baby with rare disease shocks doctors, makes miraculous recovery

A young San Antonio family is counting their blessings this season after their baby overcame a rare disease, her doctors are calling a 'miraculous recovery.'

Leia Garcia was born just over a year ago on December 10, 2016 to Arsenio Garcia and Naomi Chacon, both 21 years old.

Leia's dad Arsenio Garcia told KHOU sister station KENS 5 that the first year of Leia's life has been filled with peril and uncertainty after she was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare disease that affects the bial ducts in a patient's liver, eventually causing liver failure. 

Leia had a surgery called 'Hepatoportoenterostomy' or 'Kasai Surgery,' which involves removing blocked bile ducts and replacing them with a segment of the patient's own small intestine. The surgery is a temporary fix, supposed to usher the patient through a few years until they can get a liver transplant.

Sadly, Leia's only lasted 10 months. Her parents said they were horrified when she began throwing up blood and rushed her to the hospital.

Garcia said Leia coded three times after being admitted to the hospital. Garcia said after his daughter died several times and was resuscitated, she finally received her liver transplant.

Three weeks after the transplant, Garcia said Leia started to experience more complications, with one of her arteries closing up, stopping the blood flow to her new liver.

But as her doctors and her family became increasingly more concerned about Leia's prognosis and looking at operating once again and performing a second liver transplant, her artery reopened on its own.

Her surgeon said he had never witnessed that before and told the family he was shocked at her recovery as her liver enzyme numbers continued to improve on their own.

Garcia said after more than two months in the hospital, Leia and her family are going home. 

Garcia said it was a miraculous recovery, but said Leia is not out of the woods.

The one-year-old is still struggling to get off of heavy sedation medication from all of her surgeries and continues to go through withdraw as her doctors ween her off.

Leia will also have to continue to go to doctors once every week for as long as she lives, Garcia said. "It's something she has to live with for the rest of her life. She'll have to take medications for the rest of her life, every day."

Garcia said that his goal with opening up about Leia and her battle with Bilary Artresia is to help spread awareness about the rare disease.

Despite it all, the young couple is remaining strong.

Almost as strong as their baby girl. "She's such a fighter," Garcia said.

For more information, or if you would like to donate to Leia's recovery and ongoing battle with Bilary Artresia, CLICK HERE.

© 2018 KENS-TV


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