Young Liver Transplant Recipient Committed to Raising Awareness about the Need for Living Donors
“If more people were Organ Donors, there wouldn’t be so many people waiting on the Transplant List and dying each day.” – Matt Rosiello, Liver Transplant Recipient
At Matt Rosiello’s baptism, someone remarked that he appeared yellow. His mother Randy took him to the pediatrician the next day and things moved rapidly from there. Matt’s pediatrician had seen one case of Biliary Atresia during his residency and had a strong sense that this was the cause of Matt’s jaundice. The pediatrician had recently read a paper on Biliary Atresia and made a quick call to the author, Dr. Keith Benkov, Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, at Mount Sinai. The next day Matt Rosiello began a relationship with Mount Sinai that has lasted 23 years.
Biliary Atresia is a serious liver disorder that occurs before or shortly after birth when a baby's bile ducts (the tubes that carry bile from the liver) become blocked. The body needs bile to aid digestion and carry wastes from the liver out of the body. When blocked ducts prevent bile from being excreted, the liver becomes damaged. Left untreated, it leads to liver damage and eventually liver failure. The disease affects an estimated one in 10,000 newborns. When Matt was two months old, he had his first surgery at Mount Sinai. This surgery was called a Kasai procedure which attempts to create bile drainage from the Liver to the Intestines. His family was told that although the surgery was successful there remained a strong possibility that Matt would need a liver transplant in the future.
In 2007, after many liver infections and hospitalizations, Matt’s liver started to fail. Four years later, in early 2011, Matt was listed for transplantation. His family and friends first looked to Living Donation, but there were no viable matches among them. As Matt’s health deteriorated, the hope for a donor liver in the New York area seemed bleak. Eventually Matt had to consider traveling to another region of the country where the wait time for a new liver was shorter. Thanks to an incredible amount of support from family and friends, including a great fundraising effort, Matt was able to travel outside of N.Y. to another Region which had a shorter waiting list. Matt and his family traveled to Ohio, and he was placed on the Transplant list in March of 2011. Matt was fortunate and received his Transplant on July 7, 2011.
After his successful surgery, and after spending almost 4 months away from home, Matt returned to New York and to the RMTI at Mount Sinai and Dr. Kim Schluger for his follow up treatment. Matt still considers Mount Sinai his hospital. Today, he is working full time and continuing to grow his DJ business, (DJ little Matt Entertainment). He is committed to educating people about the importance of organ donation, speaking about the need for living and deceased Organ Donors and participating in fundraising efforts whenever possible.
“If more people were Organ Donors, there wouldn’t be so many people waiting on the list and dying each day,” says Matt with obvious conviction.
His Father adds, “It was only through the efforts of Matt’s doctors and the entire hospital staff, that Matt was able to overcome the odds and make it to adulthood. Mount Sinai has been an invaluable part of Matt’s journey.”
His mother adds, “It does indeed take a village – in this case, an entire hospital staff – to raise this child and give him the gift of life – real life – that is what Matthew has because of Mount Sinai.”