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Boy Going Home After Six-Organ Transplant

September 3, 2005

MIAMI (AP) _ A Japanese toddler is going home nine months after undergoing a six-organ transplant that could not be done in his country because donated organs are not available for young children.

Nineteen-month-old Yosuke Ohashi received a new liver, pancreas, stomach, small and large intestines and spleen in an 8 1/2-hour operation Christmas Eve at the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

Yosuke was squirming and laughing Friday in an office at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, surrounded by his parents, Yukiho and Yoshie Ohashi, and Tomoaki Kato, the surgeon who led the team that performed the transplants. The family departs Sunday for Japan.

``Happy,″ Yoshie Ohashi said of both herself and her son, who had a condition that limited his intestinal function and caused his liver to deteriorate.

Of Kato, Yukiho Ohashi said: ``He made a miracle.″

During his recovery, Yosuke had ``one episode, what could have been a complication,″ Kato said.

Japanese law does not allow children younger than 15 to be organ donors, a measure enacted to protect the rights of children.

While it is not against Japanese law to receive organs, medical school spokesman Omar Montejo said, ``without a donation, you cannot be a recipient.″

Yukiho Ohashi, a businessman who raised more than $1 million for his son’s surgery, said he hopes to speak out on behalf of young Japanese patients such as his son, when the family returns home. His goal is to help change laws and make organ donation by children more acceptable in Japan.

``Many, many children are waiting in Japan. I hope this success will make a positive impact in Japan,″ the father said. ``I hope many children could be saved.″

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