Time running out to save Indianna
A GRAFTON man whose 17-month-old daughter might have only two months to live unless she can find a liver transplant donor would beg for assistance if he could find someone who could help.
Peter Allen’s daughter Indianna has the disease biliary atresia, a rare gastrointestinal disorder in newborns that destroys the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the intestine.
Doctors have told Peter and his wife Angela that unless a donor liver turns up in the next month, perhaps two, their little girl will die.
In the past few days the family has taken their story to the media in the hope a donor turns up and to highlight the need for people to become organ donors.
“When I set out to do this Angela told me not to beg. She said there’s a fine line between praying and begging,” said Mr Allen. “But I’m telling you if I had someone to beg to, I would.”
Mr Allen’s plight has touched many people.
“We’ve had one person volunteer to donate his liver to Indianna, even though he would have to kill himself to do it,” he said.
“And I would do the same, except our blood types are not compatible.
“Even though it’s not something we can do, it’s a good feeling to know that there are people out there thinking so much of her.”
Queensland Health Minister Paul Lucas visited Indianna in hospital last week and made a plea for families to discuss their plans to make organ donations.
Mr Allen tells the tale of a courageous little girl who has not let her lifetime of pain and discomfort blight her spirits.
“She was three weeks old when she was diagnosed with the illness and at five weeks she had her first operation,” Mr Allen said.
The operation, called the Kasai Procedure, did some good but eventually her liver has started to shut down.
For much of her life Indianna has been fed via a naso-gastric tube taped to her face that feeds a fat-enriched milk directly into her small intestine.
“Most people could go several days without eating, but if Indianna goes more than half an hour without food, she starts to go into a coma,” Mr Allen said.
Mr Allen said his daughter has virtually made a game up out of the hospital procedures, such as giving blood samples and having injections.
“When the doctors come to her with a needle she will just hold her arm out, or sometimes her leg depending on how many times a particular limb has been jabbed,” he said
Her doctor at Brisbane’s Royal Children’s Hospital, Dr Loo Ee, said the shortage of organ donors has a huge impact on Indianna’s chance of survival.
“Indianna is certainly very, very unwell. She needs a transplant very soon ... within months. She can’t wait a year,” Dr Ee said.
The Allen family has made huge sacrifices in their fight to keep Indianna alive.
“When Indianna was born we were just about ready to build a new house on our block,” Mr Allen said.
“Now we are putting our block on the market.”
The property, a 2.428ha (six-acre) block with a shed built on it at 1762 Summerland Way, is listed with Elders Real Estate in Grafton.
The Allens are desperate to get the message out that more people need to become organ donors.
“DonateLife Queensland has some stats that show 1700 Australians are waiting for organ transplants that can save their lives,” he said.
“Fifty of those are children. In Australia more than one person a week dies while they are waiting for an organ transplant.”
Mr Allen said one of the major problems was the amount of red tape potential donors had to go through.
“People think that just because they’ve ticked a box on their (driver’s) licence they’re a donor,” he said.
“That’s a myth. In NSW I don’t think they’ve even had that on licences since 2005.”
To begin the organ donation process go to the Australian Organ Donor register website at www.donorregister.gov.au or ring 1800 777 203.
“Indianna needs a transplant very, very soon”