In the hallway of Children’s Hospital 2, the boy cried and groaned, writhing and reaching for his mother’s chest.

For more than a year now, the baby has spent more time in the hospital than at home.

At 2.5 months old, baby Hoang underwent Kasai surgery to treat congenital biliary atresia.

Doctor Nguyen Hong Van Khanh, Deputy Head of the Department of Gastroenterology, Children’s Hospital 2, said the baby had cirrhosis, portal hypertension, and biliary atresia.

According to Dr. Khanh, biliary tract infection is a common complication after Kasai surgery.

Baby Hoang was severely malnourished, with yellow skin and eyes, swollen limbs, and a big belly due to cirrhosis.

Baby Hoang is one of the severe cases on the list of nearly 90 pediatric patients waiting for a liver transplant at Children’s Hospital 2. The hospital is mobilizing funds so the transplant can take place early next year.

`The waiting list is always very large, but since 2005, only 13 pediatric patients have received liver transplants,` said Dr. Khanh.

`There are families who are scrambling for money, selling houses and land, and just as they’re done, the baby dies from gastrointestinal bleeding,` Dr. Khanh shared.

Liver transplant costs vary depending on each case, what tests are needed, pre-operative complexity or post-operative complications.

Little Hoang’s family could not afford the money for a liver transplant.

The baby’s father has fatty liver and diabetes. The mother is willing to donate part of her liver to save her child, but `sometimes thinking about the cost of a transplant makes me lose hope.`

Le Phuong