A 19-year-old New Yorker is preparing to tuck into his first ever Thanksgiving meal thanks to an intestinal transplant to repair a rare defect that meant her couldn’t eat solid food.
Michael Dotto, of Syracuse, was diagnosed with the condition as a baby, when he vomited after his first feeding, according to the New York Daily News.
For years, he had an ostomy bag, and spent eight hours a night being ‘fed’ by a machine that pumped nutrients into his body.
In March, his condition got so bad he was listed for a transplant, and on June 18, he was whisked straight Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan for a bowel transplant.
He celebrated with a slice of pizza in his ward days after the operation, but the real celebration comes today, when he finally gets to taste his mom’s turkey.
Michael Dotto, 19, of Syracuse, has been enjoying chicken and carbs since his transplant, which allowed him to eat solid food for the first time
Ever since he was a baby, Dotto has been forced through grueling procedures to get him his nutrients, since his digestive tract was essentially a dead-end
Four days after his surgery, he had pizza with his surgeon Dr Kishore Iyer (pictured), bought from the hospital’s local – and even Dr Iyer was nervous. Dotto hadn’t ever eaten anything so greasy. What’s more, transplant patients’ immune system is suppressed, to stop the body rejecting the new organ, which means they are sensitive and more susceptible to infections
‘It will be nice to fill my plate up with everybody and stuff myself with food,’ Dotto told the Daily News.
Dotto’s condition was unusual and complex, essentially resulting in a dead-end digestive tract that could not be re-routed.
Like many with intestinal failure, he came to rely on something known as TPN – total parenteral (meaning, alternate route) nutrition.
It means he was fed through a vein with a TPN liquid formula, a two-liter bag which contains protein, carbohydrates, fats, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals.
It can be fit into an infusion pump and carried around in a backpack, gradually seeping in, or it can be administered at night.
But, as is common, Dotto started to suffer TPN complications, which can include infections related to the catheter, liver problems, severe dehydration, and venous thrombosis.
For the surgery, Dotto’s surgeon Dr Kishore Iyer, who specializes in transplants and intestines, took out almost all of Dotto’s intestines, before inserting an organ donated by a 12-year-old boy who had suffered an aneurysm, according to the Daily News.
Now, he is eating as much as he can – and on doctors’ orders, too, says the Daily News.
Four days after his surgery, he had pizza with Dr Iyer, bought from the hospital’s local – and even Dr Iyer was nervous.
Dotto, with his family, is now on strict instructions to eat 2,000 calories a day to up his weight
Unfortunately, Dotto is banned from sugar and red meat, which rules out pepperoni pizza, and any of the chocolate his mom (left) always has in the house. Pictured: Dotto at his school graduation (left) and after his transplant (right)
Dotto hadn’t ever eaten anything so greasy. What’s more, transplant patients’ immune system is suppressed, to stop the body rejecting the new organ, which means they are more sensitive and more susceptible to infections.
But Dotto insists it went down a treat, and he’s ploughing ahead.
To build up his strength and weight, he has been instructed to eat 2,000 a day.
Much of that will come from pasta, potatoes and chicken, which he can’t get enough of. Vegetables and fish, he says, have been underwhelming.
Unfortunately, he is banned from sugar and red meat, which rules out pepperoni pizza, and any of the chocolate his mom always has in the house.
It’s been hard work, Dotto says, training his body to eat properly, but he’s enjoying it.
Above all, he’s excited to have a sense of normalcy. Having an ostomy bag and a feeding machine has ruled out a lot, socially. He hasn’t been able to go out much, have sleepovers or dinner parties.
Now, he’s excited to make up for lost time, starting with the holidays.