Portageville girl hoping to receive multi-organ transplant

A two-year-old girl from Portageville, Missouri is heading to Pittsburgh for a procedure only done at a few hospitals in the country.
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 5:00 PM CDT
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PORTAGEVILLE, Mo. (KFVS) - A two-year-old girl from Portageville, Missouri is heading to Pittsburgh for a procedure only done at a few hospitals in the country.

She’s being evaluated for a multi-organ transplant, something performed at that hospital fewer than 300 times since 1990.

“She gets like four or five hours of freedom, not being hooked up to anything, so she really takes advantage of it,” Dana Wigfall, Gabby’s grandmother, said.

Gabby is two. She loves hanging out with her cousins and playing with her dolls. But she spends more time in the hospital than anywhere else.

“She knows exactly where to turn when we get there,” Wigfall said.

Gabby has gastroparesis, which means her stomach muscles don’t work properly. Gabby has never eaten food. She gets nutrition from a central line in her chest. They offer her food all of the time, but she has no interest in it.

“Eighteen hours a day she’s on TPN,” Wigfall said. “We usually hook her up at about four in the afternoon and then she usually goes until about ten the following morning.”

TPN is short for Total Parenteral Nutrition. It’s a method of feeding that bypasses the gastrointestinal tract. Organ failure, infections and blood clots are all risk factors from the line.

In December, Gabby went into intestinal failure. She now needs a transplant.

“Her liver, pancreas, possibly kidneys, and this would be something that’s done all at the same time.”

Wigfall is taking her to a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh, one of a few in the country that has a pediatric intestine transplant program.

“Doing a lot of testing on her, like her heart and other organs to make sure she would be able to handle the transplant,” Wigfall said.

They don’t know how long the process will take, but Wigfall said she’ll be happy when Gabby is able to enjoy the small things.

“I want her to be healthy, I want her to be able to eat,” she said.

Gabby and her grandma leave for Pittsburgh on Sunday to begin the next step in the transplant process.

Wigfall uses a Facebook page, Team Gabby, to raise awareness for the condition and provide updates on Gabby.