A grandmother whose family was told she would die from liver failure survived after miraculously finding a transplant donor in just 24 hours.
Nina Jaggers, 58, was rushed to hospital after she looked in the mirror and realised she was so yellow she “looked like Marge Simpson”.
After being put in an induced coma, doctors said to her daughters it would be virtually impossible to find a matching liver in time.
But with just hours left, the distraught family got the call saying a suitable organ had been found, and surgeons performed the life-saving operation.
Ms Jaggers, who had been at church on the day she fell ill, said: “I had been a bit irritable and tired. I didn’t feel right that day.”
After going to her home in Harlow, Essex to rest, she was visited by a friend.
She added: “He took me outside and said, ‘Oh my gosh! You’re so yellow’.
“I looked in the mirror. With the blue hair, I would’ve looked like Marge Simpson.”
On March 11 – Mother’s Day – Nina went to A&E at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.
Doctors carried out a series of tests, but couldn’t work out exactly what was wrong with her.
Nina said: “With liver failure, one of the biggest factors is pain.
“They were saying it couldn’t be that serious because I wasn’t in any pain. I was laughing and joking with the nurses and other patients.”
Eventually, she was discharged and went home.
But a few weeks later, hospital staff contacted her with the results of a blood test.
Ms Jaggers’ levels of bilirubin – an orange-yellow pigment produced by red blood cells breaking down – had shot up by 200 per cent.
This often happens in cases of liver failure, as the organ usually processes it.
At the beginning of April, she was rushed straight to the Royal Free Hospital in London.
The grandmother-of-two said: “My liver was starting to fail. It got to the point where I didn’t know who I was or where I was.
“My body had swollen up like the Michelin Man. But still, I wasn’t in pain. They didn’t know what was going on.”
Her daughters Carole-Anne and Becky had just got home when their mum got even worse.
Nina said: “I was put into an induced coma to stop brain damage.
“The second day of the coma, I had a heart attack and it took them three hours to bring me round.
“The doctors said, ‘If we don’t find a liver within 24 hours, she will die’.
“They said they didn’t hold much hope. To find a liver within 24 hours is almost unheard of.”
The retiree said she was put on the top of the UK donor list, but her daughters were told to get her affairs in order.
Then on April 9, Carole-Anne got a call from the hospital.
Nina added: “She said, ‘All I could think was that you were dead. I answered the phone and said please don’t tell me but then this voice said we’ve found a liver’.”
At 1am the next day, Nina was taken into the operating theatre.
Nina, a seventh-day adventist said: “My whole congregation went into our church and prayed for me at 1am for it all to go fine.”
By May 4, she was discharged from hospital.
She added: “I was working about and shopping within a week.
“The doctors told me my recovery had outstripped all expectations. Dr Sharma said, ‘You’re not supposed to be alive’.”
Nina hopes to find her donor to be able to thank them.
She said: “I don’t think I would be able to say anything. I’m just so grateful that I was given this chance to live.
“My daughters were told I was going to die, but there’s always hope.”
She added: “I feel like an old Ford Anglia and nobody wanted to take it out because it was rusty and embarrassing but now it’s got a brand new Porsche engine.
“It’s just amazing.”