Doctors removed a 30-pound cancerous tumor from the abdomen of a man in New Jersey. Above is a representational image of surgeons' medical equipment used during a surgery. Pixabay

Twin brothers, Devin and Nicholas Coats, will soon be separated as only one of them will continue to live after both were diagnosed with stage 4 cirrhosis of liver, a year ago. The brothers were put on the transplant list, but only Devin managed to get one in time.

Devin is beginning a new chapter in his life as he just received a liver transplant and is hoping to graduate high school this spring. However, his twin brother Nicholas might not survive for long, reports said Monday.

"Nick's now in the dying stage," his mother Margi Coats said. "Nick's 18 years old, he's a senior in high school. And that was his big dream when his doctor asked what he wanted in life, he wanted to graduate. I see it's not going to happen now."

The 18-year-old twins' condition was caused by a genetic mutation, CBS affiliate WWL reported.

As the family prepares to bid farewell to Nick, Devin is also coming to terms with living without his twin brother.

"He's trying to heal through this too," Margi said, speaking of Devin. "He's got his life and yet his brother doesn't. It's been very very hard for both of them."

A pair of 18-year-old twin brothers will soon be separated as only one of them was able to receive the liver transplant they both needed to survive, March 19, 2018. Above is a representational photo of a surgery. Pixabay

Cirrhosis is a "late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as hepatitis and chronic alcoholism," according to Mayo Clinic.

The liver is an important part of our body, and carries out several necessary functions such as detoxifying harmful substances present in our system, cleaning the blood and making vital nutrients.

Cirrhosis is said to occur as a response mechanism to damage caused to the liver. Each time the liver is injured, it tends to repair itself. In the process of repairing, scar tissue forms. As cirrhosis progresses, it leads to more and more scar tissue formations, thus making it difficult for the liver to function.

The liver damage caused by cirrhosis typically cannot be undone. But if liver cirrhosis is diagnosed at an early stage and the cause is treated, further damage can be limited and, rarely, reversed.

Cirrhosis might have no symptoms or signs till the damage is extensive. They might include:

  • Yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes (jaundice) due to the accumulation of bilirubin in the blood
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itching
  • Bruising, bleeding easily from decreased production of blood clotting factors by the diseased liver
  • Drowsiness, confusion and slurred speech
  • Redness in palms

Causes might include chronic alcohol abuse, chronic hepatitis or fat accumulating in the liver. Other possible causes could include genetic digestive disorder, Cystic fibrosis and poorly formed bile ducts (biliary atresia).

Nick did not receive a liver transplant at the time of need and this might be the case for many people waiting for a transplant.

There over 115,000 people currently on the national wait list, out of which 2,068 of them are in Louisiana only. In 2017, there were 529 organs transplanted from deceased donors and 93 transplants from living donors (kidneys) in Louisiana, according to United Network for Organ Sharing.

"None of this would have happened provided we had the liver available like we needed and there are so many other people waiting," Margi said. "Don't let it happen to other people like it has him."

The family does not have life insurance for Nick, and Margi stated she is currently out of work. They have set up a GoFundMe page to help with the medical and funeral expenses.