• Sharing Mayo Clinic

    Boo Maddox takes on H1N1, dialysis, and complications on his way to a successful kidney transplant

Boo Maddox

A year ago, the Robert Maddox family from Boyce, La., would never have imagined attending the 50th Anniversary of Kidney Transplantation celebration event at Mayo Clinic this month. A year ago, their 9-year-old son Robert, who goes by the nickname "Boo," was struggling to survive, and a transplant seemed impossible.

After a devastating bout of H1N1 (swine flu) in 2009 when he was just 5 years old, Boo spent nearly 500 days in Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. After multiple surgeries, numerous transfusions, and months of uncertainty, he recovered and survived despite the odds. But he was left with renal failure, dangerously high pulmonary pressure, and susceptibility for recurring infections. Doctors told the family that he would never be a candidate for a transplant, and was destined for a life of dialysis and complications from the high pressure and infections.

Determined to find hope, Robert and Renee Maddox brought their son to Mayo Clinic last winter and met with the kidney transplant team.

“I talked to his Dad,” says Mikel Prieto, M.D., surgical director of kidney transplantation, “and I said, ‘I think maybe we can fix this.'"

Dr. Prieto and the team at Mayo Clinic remedied the cause of the high blood pressure by removing the fistula that had connected artery and vein to allow for easy dialysis treatments. The engorged vessel had placed increased pressure on Boo's lungs and caused high pulmonary hypertension. They also removed a blockage in one of Boo's veins.

Suddenly, Boo was a candidate for a kidney transplant. Both Renee and Robert eagerly volunteered; but ultimately, it was Renee who donated her kidney and on July 29, Boo underwent what Dr. Prieto estimates may have been his 70th surgery.

“The support we’ve received from our friends, family and community has been amazing,” says Robert Maddox.  “That support, along with our faith in God, has sustained all of us. We are so happy that Boo is back to being a kid, and want to thank all the wonderful doctors, nurses, and staff at Mayo for the love and compassion they have shown our family. This is what makes Mayo what it is. God bless you all.”