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Young boy who spent over year in hospital with H1N1 gets new kidney from mother

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (

A nine-year-old boy, stricken with the H1Ni virus is now recovering from a kidney transplant as his mother bravely stepped up to the plate as a donor. Little Robert "Boo" Maddox V of Boyce, Louisiana is now a step to conquering his condition with the help of the gift of life made by his loving mom.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Boo" spent an arduous 480 days in the hospital during the swine flu pandemic. He received his lifesaving surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota late last month.

"Let's get this done," Boo is said to have told his nurses as they prepped him for surgery.

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Boo's kidneys were damaged as he battled the flu virus from November 2009 to March 2011. Boo's mom Renee stepped up as a kidney donor without hesitation, her husband Robert Maddox IV says.

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Staying at the New Orleans Children's Hospital in critical condition, he endured a marathon stay and a series of near-fatal infections as the virus wreaked havoc. Machines kept his heart and lungs going. Doctors at one point said Boo would probably never breathe independently or eat through his mouth ever again.

Going home more than two years ago without a ventilator, Boo's father Robert Maddox IV estimated his son has had only eight months' worth of hospital-free days since then, due to more complications and his need for kidney dialysis.

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Boo's 44-year-old father and 42-year-old mother drove eight hours round-trip, three days a week, to take Boo to dialysis in New Orleans.

Given a fistula, doctors connected an artery and vein in Boo's arm in order to make dialysis more efficient. The procedure left him with pulmonary hypertension. Doctor after doctor told his family he would never be eligible for a transplant.

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One lone medical voice -- Dr. Mikel Prieto, surgical director of the kidney and pancreas transplant program at Mayo Clinic, was determined to find a way to help Boo.

"Because of everything else going on [with his condition], the transplant seemed like a crazy idea," Prieto said. "Then we started to figure out a plan."

When Prieto first met Boo earlier this year, the boy "was having severe abdominal pain and breathing problems, all kinds of things. He looked like he was a long way from being a candidate, but I looked at the record and realized a lot of his problems had started after he had the fistula in his arm."

Dr. Prieto and his team are "a godsend," Robert Maddox said.

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"He walked in the room and said within 10 minutes, 'I think I know what's wrong with him, and I can fix him, and I'm going to put a kidney in your boy,'" Maddox said. "This is after a long line of no's."

After undergoing their respective surgeries last week, both Boo and his mother are doing well, and Boo's new kidney is working as expected, Prieto said. He may even leave the hospital within a week.

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The family - including Boo's four sisters - looks forward to the day Boo can return to school and be with other kids.

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