A landmark transplant gives a 3-year-old a normal life

After 19 days on the transplant list, 3-year-old, Bradelyn Douglas received a transplant at UNC Hospitals on July 2, 2013. It was a landmark for the transplant program at UNC.

A landmark transplant gives a 3-year-old a normal life click to enlarge Bradelyn Douglas is the youngest liver-kidney recipient ever at UNC Transplant Center. Photo by Jessica Hawn, kidney coordinator at UNC Hospitals.

This story was written by Eleanor Murray, Transplant Program Assistant at the UNC Center for Transplant Care. It was published by Donate Now North Carolina and it appeared in the Durham Herald-Sun on Jan. 31, 2015. 

Roxanne Douglas was baffled when her 3-year-old son, Bradelyn, kept asking her to carry him. He would tell her that his legs hurt, but she thought that he was just using that as an excuse to be carried.

Then, he developed a stomach virus that would not go away, and nothing his pediatrician suggested worked. Upon seeing that Bradelyn’s coloring had changed, his pediatrician decided to do some lab tests.

Those lab results would send the Douglas’ family life spiraling into a new dimension. The pediatrician in their hometown of Laurinburg called an ambulance and sent Bradelyn and his mom directly to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. Bradelyn was in kidney failure and immediately began dialysis as the doctors worked to determine the cause.

Bradelyn was diagnosed with oxalosis, a rare metabolic disorder that has no cure. He needed a combined liver/kidney transplant, according to Dr. David Gerber, chief of abdominal transplantation at UNC Hospitals. “It was an unusual case because he had an inborn metabolic disease that was caused by his liver and led to his kidney disease,” Gerber said. “To cure his kidney failure he needed to have his liver replaced as well.”

After 19 days on the transplant list, Bradelyn received the transplant at UNC Hospitals on July 2, 2013. It was a landmark for the transplant program at UNC. “This is the youngest combined liver-kidney transplant we have done at UNC and I believe the youngest in the state of North Carolina as well,” said Gerber.

Read full story in The Herald Sun