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Baby Boy in Need of Organs Dies

December 27, 2004|From Associated Press

HENDERSON, Nev. — A 7-month-old Henderson boy died before his family could find an organ donation for him with the help of the Internet.

Before Mark Ricciardi Jr.'s death Wednesday, his parents set up a website to spur organ donations and to increase the odds of finding their son a new small intestine and liver.

The infant, who was born with an abnormal intestine, was put atop a regional waiting list for organ donations about two months ago. But the organs from a small child did not become available.

"We did get offers from some people for parts of their liver, which was not an option for us. We got a call from someone offering part of an intestine," said the boy's mother, Sara Ricciardi. "They were wonderful offers, but not viable for him."

The boy had spent most of the last 10 weeks at UCLA Medical Center, and underwent surgery early last week before his condition took a sudden turn for the worse.

Doctors concluded the boy would never be healthy enough for an organ transplant, so the family decided to wean him off life-sustaining medications.

The Ricciardis' use of a personal website follows similar publicized efforts. In one case, the family of a Houston man used a website, billboards and a toll-free number to successfully find a transplant donor.

Such efforts have riled some health officials, who fear the creation of an uneven playing field for organ seekers.

His final hours were summed up on the family's website: www.babymarkjr.com.

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