A 13-month-old boy has died a fortnight after doctors gave him just 48 hours to live.

Ethan Carroll, who was fighting for his life at Birmingham Children's Hospital, was waiting for a small bowel and liver transplant.

Two weeks ago, his parents Keelin Carroll and Matthew Barnes made a nationwide appeal for donors to come forward.

As their baby son battled on, they continued to hope he would get a life- saving transplant.

But after a suitable donor could not be found, Ethan died in his cot on Monday night.

In 2003/04, only 750 people donated vital organs, of those less than ten per cent (61) were from children. More than 440 people died while awaiting transplants.

Yesterday, Ms Carroll and Mr Barnes thanked the media for highlighting Ethan's case.

They said: "Since before Christmas we have come to know several children who, like Ethan, struggle daily to live with the most dreadful handicaps and illnesses.

"Like him, they need donor organs if they are to survive. Some are given the precious gift of life, more are not and they will die before they have lived.

"Their families will go through months or years of agony as they watch helpless as their children suffer - as we watched Ethan.

"We would like to think that, because of Ethan's life and the courage he showed, more people will agree to donate their organs and those of their dying children - to give other children the wonderful gift of life."

Ms Carroll, who lives in Surbiton, Surrey, added: "We also want to thank all the dedicated liver and the intensive care teams at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

"We would also like to thank Edwards House, the charity which gives a comfortable home to parents while their children are being treated at the hospital."

Ethan had amazed medics at the children's hospital with his resilience and stubborn refusal to give up the fight.

Dr Girish Gupte, a consultant paediatric liver specialist, had used a kidney dialysis machine in the last few days to help "clean" Ethan's blood.

He said: "This is something which is usually done just before a transplant, but we were using it to buy Ethan some more time.

"He did remarkably well considering how progressive his liver disease was, and much of the credit must go to the nursing and intensive care staff who looked after Ethan.

"As a team we're all really sad that we could not help him any further with a transplant, and this highlights the major shortage of donor organs available."

UK Transplant works with the NHS Organ Donor Register to make sure organs are matched to the most urgent cases.

Bob Corfield, a spokesman for the organisation, said: "There's a critical shortage of donors for transplant for adult patients, let alone children.

"Even with all the media interest in Ethan's appeal, we didn't see a major increase in calls to the National Donor Line.

" There are currently 279 people, adults and children, waiting for a liver transplant in the UK - of those 31 are children - which is not uncommon.

"We realise that for someone to benefit from donor organs, somewhere a family has to go through a devastating tragedy.

"But one of the major problems we face, is that too often relatives are unaware of their loved one's wishes to be a donor. Its important people talk to their family about this." n To register as an organ donor contact the NHS Organ Donor Register on 0845 60 60 400 or log on to www. uktransplant.org.uk