Liver transplant gives Istvan a new opportunity

Istvan with his mother Leudi Parra during his recovery in Argentina.

January 23, 2019 is a date that marked the Díaz Parra family, as it was the moment when their young son received the death sentence, after executing the political plan of a self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, which among his illegal actions was discarded the work of the Simón Bolívar Foundation, which through financing from Citgo - PDVSA's subsidiary - provides medical and humanitarian assistance to needy patients such as Istvan Díaz Parra, who at that time had to receive a new liver or would die

At the end of 2018, Leudi Parra's son rejected the first liver that was transplanted in 2013 and the diagnosis was life or death. For this reason, Leudi contacted the Simón Bolívar Foundation in the United States again, where they assured him that in January 2019 they would travel to Argentina for Istvan to receive a new transplant.

“When we were waiting for plane tickets in the country there were demonstrations after Guaidó proclaimed himself president, that was a disaster for our lives, since the foundation immediately cut off communication with us and once Donald Trump handed over the assets to Guaidó of Citgo, its new board of directors refused to help Istvan, assuring that they had a new policy and vision, ”Parra told ÚN.

Istvan was born in Caracas on July 23, 2010 with a weight of 2,520 kilograms. He had a yellowish color within days of being born and he underwent several studies that yielded atresia of the bile ducts as a diagnosis.
His organ was already cirrhotic, but he was still operated on with a procedure called Kasai, a surgical technique that corrects biliary atresia and the small intestine connects to the liver to allow bile to escape from the liver.
During this journey, Istvan, who was months old, faced rapid transfusions, malnutrition, stomach infections and his skin color went from yellow to green because he had bile in his body.
When he was one year old and weighing seven miraculous kilograms, he was ready to receive the liver transplant that his aunt Katiuska would donate to him, to save his life. From the pediatric gastroenterology service of the JM de los Ríos children's hospital, he sent his case to PDVSA, which, through an agreement with the Simón Bolívar Foundation and Citgo resources, was in charge of financing the treatments for these diseases.
On June 23, 2013, the little boy received his first liver transplant and between medical treatments financed by the foundation and love from home, school education and the fun of childhood games, Istvan led a dignified life until December of 2018 when he presented the chronic rejection of the donated organ; and that unfortunate infant stage began.

His life in danger. The theft of Citgo and other assets abroad to Venezuela put Itsvan's life in danger of death and in 2020 eight children died waiting for the health program added to the lack of treatments that were impossible to acquire, due to the blockade.
When he did not receive a response, Istvan's health began to deteriorate and he fell into gravity. In October 2019, he was admitted to the JM de los Ríos hospital, where he spent several months in a lethal state to the point of having to be transferred to a clinic in Caracas, where he was treated by Dr. Carmen Esther López, a hepatologist who was in charge of maintaining him. alive.
Through social networks and the work of representatives of the Latin American Foundation for Human Rights and Social Development (Fundalatin) that is part of the bone marrow and liver transplant program, Istvan's parents managed to talk with the then chancellor of the Republic, Jorge Arreaza, who received the proposal from several parents in the same situation as the Díaz Parras, for their children to be treated medically.
Between maternal prayers to the blessed and doctor of the sick José Gregorio Hernández, and those of a whole country that already knew the history of Istvan, together with the intervention of Dr. López, medical staff and day and night care, the little one survived therapy intensive and reached February 28, 2021.

"Mom we made it." It was on February 28 when the plane where the boy was going with a severe picture of malnutrition and clinging to life with his family, landed on Argentine soil where they were received by the head of Mission of the Embassy of Venezuela in the Argentine Republic, Stella Lugo.

Upon arrival, they were transferred to intensive care at the Italian Hospital in Buenos Aires. He was there for 10 days and then he was sent to the floor for two months to stabilize and be fit to receive the new liver.

Recalling that moment, Parra shared the feelings of his son, who by then was nine years old. “He understands all the procedures and he knew that this was his only chance at life. He clung to that and when we arrived in Argentina, crying by his side, he told me 'Mom, we made it, we're going to save my life' and that's how it was, ”he explains.

The operation occurred on August 19, 2021 and lasted 10 hours. Istvan was in a critical condition that generated side effects such as severe osteoporosis, malnutrition and trauma to the intestine, among other conditions and pain due to not having received treatment on time.

Approximately between 25 and 30 people participated in the surgery to transplant the new liver to Istvan. “For a long time I stopped thinking about death; Istvan has a lot of desire to live, I felt a lot of gratitude and happiness because after spending so much time in uncertainty I felt that God was with me. He also asked Dr. José Gregorio Hernández and trusted all the prayers of the Venezuelan people. During the operation, if fear came to me, I would immediately think of Istvan's words 'Mom, I'm going to live, don't worry.'
About five days passed after the operation when the little boy opened his eyes for the first time, free of anesthesia. The following days elapsed between blood transfusions, mechanical breathing machines, treatments of 10 formulas at a time, arterial lines and a whole series of actions that, although painful, were necessary to monitor the activity of the new life-giving organ.
Istvan was discharged from the hospital but must continue a series of medical controls in hepatology, surgery, endocrinology, nephrology and rehabilitation, since he spent almost a year without being able to walk, he has five vertebrae with fractures and other pathologies that must be treated.
He still has a long way to go in Argentina, but he has expressed his desire to return to Venezuela soon, to share with his grandmothers, see his friends and visit the beaches.
“I hope that soon more children have surgery and have the opportunity to live like me so that they feel good. In the future I want to be a paleontologist and with this life opportunity that I have I feel good and calm to go back to running and playing with the other children ”, Istvan said by voice note as a message that he asked to share with Venezuelans. l



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