CHOP May Allow Disabled Girl’s Transplant

New Jersey parents have hope after public outcry influences Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to renege on its denial of a transplant for their 3-year-old

By Teresa Masterson
|  Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012  |  Updated 9:34 AM EDT
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Mom Says CHOP Denied Her Child a Transplant

NBCNewYork

Joe and Chrissy Rivera claim their daughter was treated unfairly because of her mental challenges.

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Mom Says CHOP Denied Her Child a Transplant

Chrissy Rivera claims that a doctor at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia refuses to give her young daughter a kidney transplant because she is mentally disabled.
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It’s not yet a sure thing, but 3-year-old Amelia “Mia” Rivera may get the life-saving kidney transplant the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia denied her earlier this month.

Mia’s parents were told by a CHOP doctor that the hospital’s transplant team would not perform the surgery because the girl is mentally disabled from a condition called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. Chrissy and Joseph Rivera say doctors at CHOP are now willing to consider a transplant.

"As of now, we're taking this as a positive sign," Chrissy Rivera told the Inquirer.

A blog post by Chrissy Rivera earlier this month describing the conversation in which the doctor told her and her husband that Mia was not eligible for a transplant because she is “mentally retarded” brought about national public outcry and an online petition that had 37,000 signatures as of Monday night, reports the Inquirer.

The Stratford, N.J. couple tells the Inquirer they received instructions for testing family members for compatibility at a meeting Friday. Chrissy Rivera says her daughter's case still needs to be reviewed to determine if she's a good transplant candidate.

The Inquirer spoke to geneticist John C. Carey, professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine who said that a transplant and the subsequent immune-suppressing drugs could make things complicated for someone with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, but that’s no reason Mia shouldn’t get one.

"To me, that just presents a bigger challenge," Carey told the Inquirer. "That doesn't present a reason not to do the transplant."

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