Dominique McKeethan

You may or may not know Dominique McKeethan (11), but if you do not know her you are missing out on an incredible, strong, and beautiful person. Dominique has been on a hard road for a while–she has recently had a liver transplant. The crazy thing is, Dominique was never sick. She went from going to school and bagging groceries at Food City to needing a liver transplant in a few weeks. The first thing that was noticeable was jaundice, which is abnormal yellowing of the eyes, skin, or nails. Matt Hamilton (11) noticed the yellowing in her eyes. Other than her eyes being yellow, she was completely fine.

Dominique went to her family doctor to have them check on her. Her doctor soon realized that something was not right with Dominique, so he sent her to Fort Sanders and Parkwest. At Fort Sanders the doctors drew some blood. While at Parkwest, there was an enormous amount of tests performed including: Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, two MRI’s, two CT scans, an ultrasound on her liver, then finally a liver biopsy. From Parkwest, Dominique was transferred to Children’s Hospital where she was tested for all of the same things as Parkwest. From Childrens, she then went to Vanderbilt and was transferred by ambulance to Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. When she arrived there she was put in the PICU and was started on the MARS treatment which is the best known extracorporal liver dialysis system. The same day she arrived at Children’s she was put on the UNOS list status 1A, which means she was moved to the top of the transplant list.

Her first surgery, a routine liver transplant, was expected to last 7-8 hours, but actually lasted 12 hours. During those excruciating 12 hours, Dominique bled out on the table uncontrollable for 3 hours. During those long 3 hours there were three surgeons working to find the source of the bleeding. When the doctors finally found the source, Dominique had lost 40 units of blood. The first surgery could not be completed due to swelling, so her abdomen was packed and she waited until the swelling went down a little bit. During the second surgery the doctors were able to connect the hepatic bile ducts that let the liver start to operate, but there was still too much swelling to close her stomach. Her third and final surgery, the doctors were able to close her stomach completely with no skin grafts. Dominique will be moved to the Ronald McDonald house near the hospital for close monitoring.

This liver transplant saved Dominiques’ life.