NEW YORK – An 8-month-old boy received five organs in a complex transplant for a rare gastrointestinal disease and is ready for the next step — learning to eat, his doctors said Friday.
Elijah Moulton is doing well after receiving a liver, small bowel, pancreas, colon and stomach during the seven-hour procedure July 10 at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, doctors said.
He was born with total intestinal atresia, a malformation of the entire gastrointestinal tract that makes eating impossible.
Dr. Mercedes Martinez said at a news conference Friday that the boy would probably be moved to a rehab center on Monday, where he will spend as many as six weeks learning to eat. His release was delayed a few days because he was having difficulty breathing.
"He's doing so well right now," Martinez said. "He's gorgeous. He's looking around and smiling."
Organ rejection and infection were the biggest complications the baby faced during the first six to 10 weeks after surgery, she said.
The organs came from one donor, and all were kept together as one unit, with connections intact, the hospital said.
The head surgeon, Dr. Dominique Jan, performed the world's first successful intestinal transplant in 1991, involving two organs. As many as seven organs can safely be transplanted at the same time, he said.
"By transplanting several organs at once, we can give children with serious intestinal malformations or infections hope for a healthy future," he said.
Elijah's parents, Heather and Brad Moulton, live in Lewis, several hours north of New York City. He has a brother and sister, ages 5 and 3.