New Lease On Life

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Friday, May 6, 2011 - 3:59pm

Toddler recovering well after seven organ transplants.

A toddler who had seven organs transplanted by Miami specialists is ready to return home to Texas.

Delilah Valdez, of San Antonio Texas, has a very rare digestive syndrome that often causes fatal intestinal blockages.

Her mother, Julissa Cerda, was seriously ill with pneumonia when Delilah was born seven weeks premature.

It became clear the baby needed a multi-organ transplant to survive, and they came to seek treatment from Miami doctors in January.

“She was actually laughing and smiling the whole way here from Texas,” said her father Heapito Valdez. “Flying over here, as if she knew something.”

Delilah was 16 months old when she had the transplant at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital and has been recovering ever since.

“This journey wasn’t easy. It’s had its bumpy road along the way, but I’m glad we’re here,” said Cerda.

Transplant surgeon Andreas Tzakis said doctors replaced the liver, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, kidney and spleen.

Her pediatric gastroenterologist, Dr. Jennifer Garcia says Delilah’s recovery is remarkable.

“For me, the most amazing thing is she actually has been eating by mouth during the day, something she didn’t do for 16 months of her life, and from one day to the other she just learned to do,” Garcia said.

The toddler weighed less than 19 pounds before the transplant, way below average for her age.

Now she weighs 27 pounds. Garcia has actually put her on a diet to cut her calories a little.

Because Delilah has been so weak since birth, she never learned how to walk.

Her father says she’s making progress.

“She’s actually starting to crawl more, she’s starting to use her feet, being more active that before,” said Valdez.
 

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