Trine Engebretsen was clinging to life. It was the early 1980s, and the girl had a genetic liver disorder that would kill her if she did not get a transplant.

Yet, as she waited for a matching liver, some providers called her parents and urged them not to allow the surgery. They cautioned them that Trine would be “mentally disabled, handicapped, mutant. She would never be a normal little girl,” Trine recalled at a TEDxBeaconStreetevent in Boston last month. A psychologist said she would be better off if allowed to die.

She and her family persevered. Having visited 13 hospitals before receiving a diagnosis, locating the one doctor in the country willing to perform the transplant on a child and then sparking national efforts to create organ-matching networks, they were not ready to give up.

This post is from Dr. Peter Pronovost, Senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine and Co-founder of Doctella. This is an excerpt reposted from his blog, Voices for Safer Care. Please visit his website to read the full article.