Leah Baber

Leah Baber

Pediatric Liver Recipient 

The doctor said, “The time is now for a transplant. Leah’s body can’t take this anymore, and she’s not going to make it.” She was put on the waiting list. 


Cindy, Leah’s adoptive mom, remembers when she was asked to foster Leah until they found her a permanent home.  

From the moment I took her home, I felt something was wrong. Leah was lethargic & wasn’t eating, but when she did, she never kept it down. From then, it was non-stop visiting the doctor.  

Doctors first thought Leah had a viral infection. She was in the hospital for two weeks on IV anti-viral meds but couldn’t maintain her temperature & had a catheter inserted in her head. Doctors kept Leah under heat lamps, trying to keep her warm. We were sent home, but things still weren’t right.  

Leah’s birth mother was contacted, and there were false positives on Leah’s birth screening. Leah was diagnosed with ‘Propionic acidemia,’ an inherited disorder that prevents the correct processing of proteins and fats.  

Leah spent 21 days (about 3 weeks) in the hospital, but doctors still couldn’t metabolize her proteins. Ammonia filled up in her blood, and she kept vomiting & passing out.  

At the time, MUSC doctors only treated one other child with Leah’s disease. They said most people couldn’t live with it without a transplant.  

In January 2016, Leah was bumped to the top of the waiting list, with one child ahead of her. A donor became available within a few weeks, and we were put on standby. The other child, who was in the same condition as Leah, was given that gift. I was afraid & devastated. We almost had to make peace that we may lose her.  

In February, we got the call & rushed to MUSC. We were in the waiting room all night, but then, here she was, covered in lines, wires, and tubes. She had been given a second chance at life with her liver transplant.  

In the summer of 2016, we officially adopted Leah as our own. Leah’s transplant showed us a true miracle & gave us our kid back.