November 13, 2008

Children’s Medical Center Dallas Reaches Milestone

Less than a week after making history as Children's Medical Center's 400th liver transplant patient, 10-month-old Serenity Stephens of North Richland Hills met the patient that started it all -- on the anniversary of the day the first patient received her liver.

Melissa Lively, a 26-year-old special education teacher from Ft. Worth, was the first patient at Children's to undergo the life-saving liver transplant procedure. In 1984, at the age of two, Lively received a new liver after over six months of waiting for a donor. At that time the survival rate for the procedure was about 50 percent.

"It's amazing to think that there was a good chance I wouldn't make it through the surgery," said Lively. "But 24 years later, I am still here."

Today, after decades of studying and performing pediatric liver transplants, the survival rate at Children's is close to 100 percent. Now, the surgeons on the medical staff at Children's use techniques such as reduced-size livers, whole livers, living-related livers and split livers to increase access to organs for candidates.

"The chance of Serenity getting a full liver was very rare, especially for her size," said Andraya Brisbin, Serenity's mother. "I would like to thank the other family for donating the liver to us and I am very sorry for their loss."

The pediatric liver transplant program at Children's is the largest in Texas and the 5th busiest in the nation. Children's also has the busiest pediatric solid organ transplant program in Texas.

"Without someone's generous donation, I would not be here today," said Lively. "When she grows up, I know Serenity will feel the same gratitude I do."

"These personal stories go a long way toward showing what organ donation and transplantation are really about. It's not about organs, it's about people," said Pam Silvestri of Southwest Transplant Alliance. "People sharing life with people. And we can all be a part of that miracle by registering to be an organ donor at or For more information Texans can visit"