Transplant gives baby renewed chance of life

By Myra Miller

A Eunice family received the most precious gift of all at Christmas - renewed life for an infant threatened by the ravages of illness.

Branson Bergeron, 11 months, got a new liver on Dec. 23 after being placed at the top of a waiting list at Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown Medical Center.

One family’s tragedy created another’s hope.

Branson was born in Lafayette on Jan. 15, 2008, with his intestines on the outside of his body.

He underwent three surgeries within three months of his birth and remained in Neonatal ICU for the first seven months of his life.

Doctors, according to his grandmother, Anissa Israel, advertising manager for The Eunice News all along have been amazed at the child’s determination to live.

Since his initial release from the hospital in August, Branson has made several trips back to ICU at hospitals in Lafayette and New Orleans where specialists in this field of medicine worked to keep him alive.

Branson gets his nourishment through a feeding tube. The medicines and treatment administered to keep him alive destroyed his liver.

His physicians had hoped that Branson’s liver would regenerate, a common occurrence in infants. To his misfortune, it did not.

Knowing the child didn’t have much time left with his liver failing, doctors placed him on the top of the transplant list. Only five days later, the family was alerted there was a possible liver found.

Hours later Branson was being prepared and readied for surgery. The family was told it would take anywhere from 3-8 hours.

The clock ticked slowly for the family as they waited impatiently for word from the surgery room. Two hours and 55 minutes later, it was done - the turning of the page to the next chapter in Branson’s life. Hope.

“I spoke with my daughter-in-law, Sharon, during the surgery. We thanked God and the donor family for such a miracle we had been given. We prayed for the donor family’s loss, never taking for granted that they had lost the life of their child. I couldn’t imagine it ... still thinking about being a blessing to others during such a heart-wrenching time. I’ll never stop thanking God and them,” Israel said

According to Israel, specialists claimed Branson’s medical case is the worst they’ve had to deal with to date and it is being documented as they go.

Branson remains in the Washington hospital for an undetermined length of stay while doctors monitor closely his recovery.

He has been taken off of ventilators and is breathing on his own and is smiling his captivating smile.

A fund has been set up for Branson at Tri-Parish Bank under Christ’s Church of Eunice-Branson’s Miracle to help defer expenses.

Fund raisers are currently in the planning stages.

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