PARENTS
12/18/2013 04:23 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Tampa Toddler Thriving After Rare 5-Organ Transplant

At just 3 years old, Adonis Ortiz has already endured more medical problems than most people do in an entire lifetime.

But hopefully those will be a distant memory for Adonis. In October, he underwent a rare five-organ transplant at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital. By Tuesday, he had recovered enough from the procedure to make a brief media appearance.

toddler 5 organ transplant

In this photo, provided by Jackson Health System, Adonis Ortiz smiles after receiving a five-organ transplant.

The Tampa boy was born with a condition called gastroschisis, which left his intestines protruding through a hole in his abdominal wall. Soon after his birth, doctors performed a surgery to correct the problem, whereupon they discovered his intestines had never quite developed, thus necessitating two more subsequent surgeries to help lengthen them and increase their function.

He only had 28 centimeters of intestines. A normal baby has 250,” His mother, Aracelis Ortiz, explained to NBC Miami.

Unfortunately, the surgeries weren't enough. In August of 2013, doctors diagnosed Adonis with stage 2 liver fibrosis, which would require a transplant of not just one, but a total of 5 compromised organs.

Two months later, reports local outlet WTSP, the family received a phone call indicating donor organs had been located. They rushed to Miami, and within hours little Adonis was in surgery.

All told, the toddler received a new liver, pancreas, stomach and small and large intestines. He is the first child to have undergone the procedure without a colostomy, which is sometimes inserted to connect the colon to the surface of the abdomen, according to a written statement from the hospital.

“He is really strong,” Aracelis reflected afterward to CBS Miami. “After all his surgeries, he comes out with a smile. I’m like how do you come out with a smile? They just chopped you up.”

Against the odds, he has recovered from the rare surgery exceptionally well. “His chances of rejecting [the organs] are actually under 10 percent," Rodrigo Vianna, the doctor who operated on Adonis, told the Miami Herald. "I do think he has a very good chance to have a very good and normal life."

The paper adds he will soon be learning to eat food with his mouth -- something he has never done before -- and the family is looking forward to his first Christmas spent at home, likely next year.

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