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Twins Diagnosed With Liver Cirrhosis Sees Only One Survive

Photo from Margi Coats

Devin and Nick Coats, identical twins, were both diagnosed last year with the same kind of severe liver disease, meaning they both needed transplants. While Devin received a new liver in January, and now has “a new lease on life,” his brother did not receive the same positive ending.

Margi Coats, the teenagers’ mother, described her sons as “best friends.” On Tuesday, she posted on Facebook that Nick’s liver came too late, and that he had passed away, ABC News reports. The post said, “As Nick now has a new life in heaven, he left behind his twin. Devin feels a deep loss…He will wake this morning and feel empty. He will look for Nick and the realization will hit him hard.”

This heartbreaking outcome is due to the shortage of organ donors and lack of available organs in the United States, Margi said.

Early last year, Nick started feeling a severe burning pain in his legs. Margi initially brushed the symptom off a “growing pains,” but when the sensation did not subside, Nick went for a check-up. Doctors recommended that Devin also get evaluated, which resulted in a diagnosis of stage 4 liver cirrhosis for both boys.

Liver cirrhosis is a chronic condition that usually ends in liver failure. There is no cure and in some cases, a liver transplant is necessary.

The twins would be eligible for the transplant registry, but only until their condition deteriorated enough to qualify. While waiting, Nick developed cancer, which would eventually block his chances of getting a new liver.

Just before her son died, Margi said,

When he got diagnosed with liver cirrhosis, at that time, if we had enough organs available across this country, none of this would have been an issue. Nicholas would not have developed cancer on his diseased liver.

Devin withstood the disease long enough to receive a liver. However, his mother said that guilt and concern over Nick started taking its toll. “When they called Devin in to have his liver transplant (in January), he didn’t want to have it done. He wanted his brother to go in for him,” she said.

At the time, Nick was undergoing chemotherapy. By late February, doctors thought the cancer was treated enough to receive a transplant. But when they prepped the teen, they discovered that the cancer had metastasized, making a transplant moot.

Margi is now calling for organ donations, saying, “This is ridiculous. There [are] way too many people in this country for us to have a shortage of organs. When you go in the ground, you’re in the ground. Extend your loved one’s life in somebody else.”

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