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Liver transplant recipient Lucas Goeller recovers after another surgery

Ben Schmitt
| Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, 3:03 p.m.
Lucas Goeller and his parents while dontaing blood  in July at Central Blood Bank Center in Harmar.
Submitted
Lucas Goeller and his parents while dontaing blood in July at Central Blood Bank Center in Harmar.
Lucas Goeller, of Indiana Township, at age 2
Lucas Goeller, of Indiana Township, at age 2

Lucas Goeller, the Indiana Township boy whose lifesaving liver transplant made national headlines in 2015, is recovering at a Pittsburgh hospital after undergoing another surgery.

The 4-year-old had intestinal surgery Friday at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Damage to his intestines had prevented him from properly absorbing nutrients from solid food.

On Tuesday, he was in good condition and doing well, said UPMC surgeon Dr. George Mazariegos.

“He really looks quite well considering all the challenges he's been through,” Mazariegos told the Tribune-Review Tuesday. “I'm really encouraged by that.”

His mother, Jessica Goeller, posted on Facebook that the surgery was successful.

“A true miracle! A surgery that was to take 12 hours to 2 days was done in 5 hours,” she wrote. “Lucas stayed stable the entire operation and only needed some platelets even tho there was a high risk of bleeding! For such an involved procedure, Lucas looks amazing!”

Lucas received a lifesaving liver July 1, 2015, at Children's Hospital from a 3-year-old Nebraska girl, Olivia Swedberg , who had died of brain cancer a day earlier. He waited for 18 months for a match, and doctors didn't know how much longer he'd live. The story gained publicity at the time as a second local child, Angelo Giorno of Derry, received Olivia's small intestine to combat a digestive disorder known as short bowel syndrome. Angelo returned home but died two months later.

Surgeons, in the recent surgery, repaired inflammation and a blockage in Lucas' small intestine that was hindering absorption. They also performed a procedure to decrease pressure in his portal vein, which carries blood from the digestive tract to the liver.

“His bowel should function much better, and he shouldn't have any bleeding complications,” Mazariegos said. “He looks very comfortable.”

He said Lucas could be released next week, barring complications or slow recovery.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, bschmitt@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.

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