Diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis in 2013 and on the waiting list until his first transplant, he overcame all obstacles and is now 25, practicing swimming and saving his life place to work. Every year on July 28th, World Hepatitis Day is celebrated.
In 2013, Julieta Pérez was on the waiting list for a liver transplant due to autoimmune hepatitis. After the organs arrived, she was transplanted to Garrahan, but her body rejected it. She received a new liver the following month, and after the intervention, various complications led to 17 surgeries and a nine-month hospitalization.
Now, at 25, all the journeys are in the past and thanks to the care she has received, she is leading a normal life, practicing swimming and working in the garment section of the same hospital where she was treated.
Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic disease in which the immune system attacks the liver, causing inflammation and damage. The cause is unknown, although there is a genetic predisposition and there may be a trigger. Other hepatitis may have viral origin or metabolic, toxic or vascular disease.
Hepatitis A and B can be prevented with free and mandatory vaccines, which are included in the national vaccination calendar. For hepatitis A, a single injection is given at 12 months of age; for hepatitis B, the first injection is given at birth and then at 2, 4, 6, and 18 months.
Giulietta said she arrived at the hospital after experiencing the first symptoms of the disease: yellowing eyes, vomiting, swelling and dark urine. “When I got to Gallahan, they explained to me everything that happened to me. If he hadn’t come, it wouldn’t have happened that night,” he said.
Regarding her experience at the pediatric facility, she said that she had become familiar with the services over the years they cared for her, and vouched: “I was amazed by the connection that each professional made with each patient, the connections they established There was a connection. I felt that they cared about us beyond their mission of restoring the health of every boy or girl.”
Each year, Garrahan diagnoses approximately 60 new patients with hepatitis and provides 800 consultations for children and adolescents with the disease. Transplantation is only required in severe cases. The hospital performs 60% to 70% of the country’s liver transplants, becoming a benchmark throughout Latin America.
Thanks to continuous research and training of professionals, new technologies have brought about a better quality of life for surgical patients. From diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation to transfer to an adult hospital, the medical team will accompany you throughout the process.
“This hospital has saved me time and time again, from the time I was in the hospital until after I was discharged, and to this day. I have people who love and take care of me, I have a job as a tailor that I love, and I feel like I am giving back to what the hospital has given me and Will continue to give me everything,” Giulietta excitedly thanked.
Regarding her job at Gallaghan, she said a friend told her there was a sewing position, and she tried it out and got in. “The first thing I did was operating room sheets, which were unbelievable: I’ve used them in multiple admissions to the operating room, and I thought, now I’m making them,” he added, ” I’m so happy because it helped me see how I overcame everything until I got here, cherishing what I had and taking care of my transplant.”
Signs and symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis include fatigue, abdominal discomfort or bloating, yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine, joint pain, and bleeding from the nose or gums. If treated early, it can be managed with drugs that lower the immune response. A liver transplant is required only in severe cases.
To avoid viral hepatitis infection, be sure to wash your hands after using the toilet and before eating, drink drinking water, use extra caution when interacting with sick people, use sterile items during procedures, including piercings and tattoos, and a barrier method to prevent sexual transmission.
July 28 is World Hepatitis Day and the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus and invented the diagnostic test and vaccine. El Garrahan is involved in missions to raise awareness of the disease, its prevention and treatment to improve the quality of life of children and adolescents.