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Removing the monster saved Saanvi's life

Thursday 27 July 2017

Image of five-year-old Saanvi, organ recipient.
Five-year-old, Saanvi Panchal.

Five-year-old Saanvi fully intends to be a nurse when she grows up and by all accounts, she will be an exceptionally good one.

Just ask her Dad Vijay who was recently 'counselled' by young Saanvi as to how he should approach a minor medical procedure. She pointed to the scar on her tummy "from where they removed the monster" and let him know if she was brave enough to go through all that, then he could be brave too.

Saanvi was the long-awaited and much adored first child of Julie and Vijay. She arrived healthy and well into the Panchal family, about four years after they migrated to Australia from India.

Problems arose around 2 1/2 months of age, when Saanvi suddenly turned yellow (jaundice) and the first of many painful tests and procedures began. Saanvi's condition continued to deteriorate until she was wait-listed for a liver transplant at just 5 ½ months of age. The family was distraught.

Medical advice was that Saanvi had about six weeks to live without a transplant. After 25 agonisingly long days on the transplant waiting list Saanvi received her life-saving gift, while simultaneously having that 'monster' removed from her tummy.

Doctors are still unsure of the cause of Saanvi's liver failure, but thankfully she's experienced an uncomplicated and speedy recovery.

The family remains eternally grateful to the unknown donor who saved their daughter's life and for the miracle of living in a country where organ and tissue donation enjoys strong community support.

Sadly, this was not the case for a close relative in India. Julie's brother-in-law died while waiting on the organ donor list in India for a liver early this year.

Last updated: 23 August 2017