Lincolnshire

Bacon and beans 'first choice' for transplant girl

Elena and Mel Betts Image copyright Mel Betts/Facebook
Image caption Elena's mother Mel said her new digestive system was working well

A three-year-old girl who underwent major transplant surgery on her digestive system to enable her to eat normally has celebrated by choosing her first meal.

Elena Betts is recovering after receiving a new stomach, pancreas, liver, small intestine and colon.

She marked her recovery by choosing bacon and beans off the hospital menu just four weeks after surgery.

Her mother Mel said her new digestive system was working well.

"Three years ago we were told that Elena would never be able to eat normally," she said.

"She can now have whatever she wants to eat. She was even given a menu to choose from.

"She was quite overwhelmed but did manage a few mouthfuls."

Image copyright Mel Betts/Facebook
Image caption Elena Betts received a new stomach, pancreas, liver, small intestine and colon

Elena was fed intravenously before she had the transplant at King's College Hospital in London.

She was only able to eat small portions of certain foods but had no bowel.

"Eating didn't give her any nutritional benefit," her mother said.

"This is such positive news and an amazing milestone."

Image copyright Mel Betts/Facebook
Image caption The family are telling Elena's story in a Facebook blog

The family are telling Elena's story in a Facebook blog to encourage people to have that "all important conversation" about organ donation.

They are also campaigning to raise awareness about the lesser known organs like the stomach and bowel.

Mel and husband Dan, who live in Welton in Lincolnshire, said: "The reason we are sharing Elena's story is because we want people to know of somebody or a family where organ donation has had such a huge impact."

About a third of newly-bereaved families who were asked declined the reuse of their loved-one's organs, according to the NHS Blood and Transplant organisation.

As many as 2,500 more organs could be made available if families spoke more openly about organ donation, it said.

Under a new opt-out system, planned to come in from 2020, consent will be presumed unless family members decide otherwise.

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