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Florida woman beats the odds after undergoing 2 major organ transplants – ilmhunt Ilmhunt | Miami News, Weather, Sports



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(ilmhunt) – A young Florida woman is recovering from not one, but two major organ transplant operations. 7’s Karen Hensel has Siobhan Rhodes’ story of strength and courage on today’s 7Spotlight.

“We did it,” said Siobhan as she firmly grasped the hand of a nurse in a strong handshake after her surgery.

She has a great reason to celebrate. The 26-year-old is at the end of a nine-month stay at the Miami Transplant Institute.

Siobhan Rhodes: “I got my life back and today is discharge day.”

Her journey began eight years ago in her hometown of Northport, Florida.

Siobhan Rhodes: “I was a healthy individual. I was in my high school marching band, I was in the color guard and I had the most normal life that any girl really would have.”

But at 18, she got an infection in her trachea. She started having stomach problems and couldn’t digest food. Eventually, her colon stopped working.

Dierdre Rhodes, Siobhan’s mother: “We were in and out of the hospital with sepsis or some other infection. It was rough.”

Over the past eight years, Siobhan has had 35 major operations.

Dierdre Rhodes: “They were just chasing every symptom, so they ran out of what they could do.”

A doctor on Florida’s west coast gave Siobhan a little hope.

Siobhan Rhodes: “He’s like, ‘You’re not gonna see the age of 40,’ and I kind of looked at him in shock.”

Then her older sister found out about the Miami Transplant Institute.

Dr. Rodrigo Vianna: “We knew she needed a multi-organ transplant to replace the entire digestive system.”

Last May, Siobhan received a stomach, pancreas, small and large bowel, and colon. She seemed to be doing well, but one month later she suffered an aneurysm.

Siobhan Rhodes: “I was bleeding out and I was basically in a life or death kind of situation.”

The blood loss caused her transplanted organs to die. Doctors took them out and for the next four months, Siobhan was hooked up to machines that kept her alive.

Dierdre Rhodes: “They had her on drains, pain medicines — she couldn’t even swallow water that entire period of time.”

Finally, last October, another donor made a second transplant possible. This time, Siobhan needed five organs.

Dr. Rodrigo Vianna: “So liver, stomach, pancreas, small bowels, large bowels, and then on top of it to cover all those organs, we had to transplant the abdominal wall all from the donor.”

Siobhan Rhodes: “My donor saved me. I’m just incredibly blessed that, you know, unfortunately, their loss gave me a second chance and I wish I could tell my donor how grateful I am for them.”

Day by day, Siobhan is getting her life back. After nine months in the hospital, she finally got to go home for the weekend. Now she’s learning to eat food again.

Even though she has to return to the hospital several times a week for checkups, Siobhan and her family couldn’t be happier.

Dierdre Rhodes: “I got my girl back.”

In the coming months, Siobhan said she will continue to work towards her new normal and she said that includes becoming a voice for the importance of organ donation.

Siobhan Rhodes: “I really hope that one day my story is going to be a survival guide for someone else because if I can do it, other people can do it as well.”

Giving hope to those who need it most.

Karen Hensel, Ilmhunt.

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Florida woman beats the odds after undergoing 2 major organ transplants – ilmhunt Ilmhunt | Miami News, Weather, Sports

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