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Twins Need Liver Transplants; Dad Can Only Save One

The Short of It

Johanne and Michael Wagner's adopted 3-year-old twins, Bihn and Phuoc, both need liver transplants. Their dad is a match, but his partial liver transplant can only save one of the girls.

The Lowdown

Bihn and Phuoc were born with a genetic disorder called Alagille Syndrome, which restricts bile secretion from the liver.

The Wagners adopted the girls from a Vietnamese orphanage when they were 18 months old and in very poor health. Their conditions improved greatly after moving to the United States.

"Watching them go from just skin and bone to happy little 3-year-olds ... These are normal little girls except that they're a little smaller, and they have liver disease," Michael told The Star.

But now the girls need liver transplants to survive.

Doctors determined that their father is a match and can donate a portion of his liver to one child. The family is now on a desperate quest to identify another donor to save the other twin.

Although many reports say the family will decide who gets Michael's donated liver in a few short weeks, it will be doctors who ultimately make that determination.

"We can't even burden ourselves with that. That is not for us to decide," Johanne told The Star.

Johanne has not yet taken tests to determine if she is a match. She said she is waiting to get tested until after Michael has recovered from his surgery, which typically takes about six to eight weeks. The Wagners have seven other children, and she plans to hold down the fort during the family's ordeal.

The Upshot

The twins are currently on the donor list. Joanne also started a Facebook page in an effort to find a second match for her girls.

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