Making Medical History

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 9:05am

Liver transplant recipients meet, fall in love and have a baby.

When Andersen Labbe was born on July 21, he and his parents made medical history.

“We believe that’s the first time that we have a baby born out of both parents being liver transplant recipients” explained Dr. Andreas Tzakis, the director of liver transplants at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

Trine Engebretsen, Andersen’s mother, is no stranger to media attention.

She made national news headlines in 1984.

Born in South Miami, Engebretsen was 2-years-old and in desperate need of a liver transplant and flew to Pittsburgh to get it.

She became the first person in Florida to undergo what was then an experimental procedure.

Engebretsen is now 30 and stopped taking anti-rejection medications 14 years ago.

With tears in her eyes, she expressed her gratitude.

“I like to show our donor families that we’re carrying forth their generosity and really trying to make the most of the gifts we’ve been given,” she said Wednesday.

Tzakis was training at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital at the time and assisted in Engebretsen’s transplant.

“I took care of her and I’ll never forget how hard she kicked me every time I examined her,” he said.

Tzakis continued to take care of Engebretsen when she came to Miami.

In 2008, Tzakis performed Ryan Labbe’s liver transplant.

At the time, Labbe was dating Engebretsen.

“We actually met on a website called liverfamilies.net” said Engebretsen.

Labbe was living in Connecticut and talked about how the relationship evolved.

“We got to know each other for three months before we even met," he said. "So we already felt like we had a connection. We already knew we had a lot in common.”

Engebretsen is about to start her third year of medical school at Florida International University.

“I’ve obviously been around medicine my entire life but without great doctors, without people who care about people not just interesting cases or charts, where would we be?” she said.

Engebretsen wants to specialize in emergency medicine.

She graduates from medical school in May 2013.
 

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