Tasmanian Toddler’S Fight For A Vital Liver Transplant

Two-year-old George van Essen, from Devonport, Tasmania, is in desperate need of a liver transplant to save his life. George suffers from idiopathic extrahepatic portal vein thrombosis (EHPVT), a rare condition that blocks the portal vein without any known cause. This condition has irreversibly blocked George’s portal vein, leading to severe portal hypertension and putting him at risk of life-threatening internal bleeding. Despite his young age, George has already undergone multiple hospitalizations and general anesthetics, and has made frequent trips to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne for medical procedures. His parents, Joanna Benjamin and Nic van Essen, are currently in Melbourne where doctors are completing the final checklist of blood tests and procedures to get George onto the liver transplant list. While a transplant would give George a chance at a long and healthy life, it also comes with immense risks and a lengthy recovery period.

Due to George’s condition, Joanne is unable to work and Nic has had to take extended leave from his job to support their family during George’s medical journey. The couple is often required to fly to Melbourne at a moment’s notice for George’s medical needs, which has put a financial strain on their single-income household. To alleviate some of the expenses, George’s extended family has set up two GoFundMe campaigns, raising over $30,000 in total. This financial support will help cover medication costs, extended stays away from home, and the unforeseen expenses that come with George’s upcoming liver transplant surgery and recovery. The parents are grateful for the support they have received from their community and are hoping for a successful transplant that will give George a new lease on life.


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