Brandon Hall, who at 13 months became the youngest human to get two liver transplants, died of heart failure yesterday in Memphis.
In another city, the effort to make liver transplants a regular and life-saving procedure went on. Minneapolis surgeons reported that on Tuesday they transplanted a liver into 11-month-old Amy Hardin, pairing her with Jamie Fiske of Massachusetts as the youngest recipients of liver transplants.
Both Amy and Jamie, who received her new blood-purifying organ last Nov. 5, were 344 days old at the time of their operations at the University of Minnesota.
Brandon Hall, the subject of two appeals for a suitably tiny liver, weighed 22 pounds when he died at 4:30 a.m. EDT at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center. That was four pounds more than he weighed when he got his first liver transplant a month ago, but the gain was caused by an unhealthy buildup of fluids.
Since May 2 his doctors had held out little hope for his survival, and he had remained in intensive care on a respirator in recent days because of severe lung damage, fluctuating blood pressure, lowered kidney output and a faltering heart.
"The latest liver functioned very well throughout the whole ordeal, but it began to fail slightly toward the end," a hospital spokesman said. The cause of death was cardiac arrest.
John Donica, a spokesman for the medical center, described Brandon's death as a "slow and sure total system failure."
The child, who was born without bile ducts, got his first liver transplant on April 13 just after his mother, Billie Hall, had testified before a House subcommittee with her son in her arms. The liver came from a 9-month-old Virginia girl who had died in a traffic accident.
Twice during the first operation, Brandon's heart went into arrest; interrupted blood flow caused the lung damage. A week later, a blood clot formed in an artery and blocked blood flow to the new liver.
A nationwide alert went out, and on April 22 Brandon got another liver from a 5-month-old Kentucky girl who was an alleged victim of child abuse.
Billie Hall, who was with her infant son when he died yesterday, thanked the public and the media for prayers and support, adding that without media help "Brandon probably would not have gotten his liver transplants."
She donated Brandon's corneas to an eye bank, and said she hoped his death would help someone else.
"I loved those eyes," she said, "but I gave them to somebody else . . . . "
"If there's any good that's come out of Brandon's death, maybe it is worth it, I don't know," she said after returning to her home in Walnut, Miss.
On Capitol Hill, a House Science and Technology subcommittee headed by Rep. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.) has been seeking ways to find donors for all persons in need of transplants, ending the need for emotional appeals.
The University of Pittsburgh has established a toll-free national coordinating number--800-243-6667, or 800-24-DONOR--for use in lining up organs from injured and brain-dead but still breathing patients.
The liver transplanted in Amy Hardin, of Cahokia, Ill., came from 7 1/2-month-old Daniel Sakellarios of Monticello, Fla., who died Friday while in the care of a sitter. A sheriff's spokesman said death was "apparently due to a blow to the head." The sitter, Marie Catillier, 24, was being held without bond on a charge of murder.