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Transplant patient needs new kidney sooner than expected

By Alex Hoffman | KETV
Published 10:30 PM CDT Aug 27, 2015

OMAHA, NE Laila Pettigrew, 13, gets dialysis three times a week at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha.

We first introduced you to Laila in April of 2012 when she was waiting for a new kidney. Doctors say Laila has unique antibodies in her blood which makes it harder to match her with a donor.

Buck luck was on her side. Laila got a kidney transplant just a few months later.

“I knew that we would have to come back here eventually, it’s just that I didn’t think it would be so soon,” said Jeremy Pettigrew, Laila’s father.

Jeremy says doctors noticed problems with Laila’s transplanted kidney about a month ago. Her renal artery started to close leading to kidney failure years before doctors expected.

Doctors at Nebraska Medicine say it could be more difficult for Laila to get a new kidney this time.

“It’s not going to be a smooth ride. Its going to take a little bit from everyone because we have very little margin,” said Dr. Murty Adabala, a pediatric nephrologist at Nebraska Medicine.

Dr. Adabala says most kidney transplants last an average of 15 years. Laila’s transplanted kidney lasted three.

Laila’s dad says he will never stop fighting for his little girl.

“I want to give her a good life regardless of how short it may be or how long it may be.”

And while Laila waits for a match, she wants you to think of her the next time you’re asked if you want to be an organ donor.

“Because then they’ll save little kids lives,” Laila said.

For more information or to see if you are a potential match for Laila, call 402-559-5000.