HE has spent most of his short life in hospital.
Doctors told his parents that he would not survive five times – but they never gave up hope.
Now, having amazingly defied the odds and even after a brave battle with liver cancer, kidney failure and a rare heart condition, two-and-half-year-old Maddox Martinez is finally going home.
The youngster was just a few months old when he was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. Since then he has had open heart surgery, chemotherapy and been fitted with a tracheotomy to help him breathe, spending 26 of the 33 months of his life in a hospital.
But now Maddox’s delighted parents Gozi Oniha, 27, and José Martinez, 27, are preparing to take their little boy home and finally spend some quality time as a family.
Their heartache began when Maddox was just two months old and doctors feared a hole in his heart, with which he was born, may have grown and he was rushed to Southampton General Hospital to have open-heart surgery.
Five months later he was rushed back to hospital again when a heart scan revealed he had a rare and dangerous condition called pulmonary vein stenosis.
Only 17 in a million children aged two and under suffer from the life limiting condition where two of the four veins carrying oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the heart are narrowed. The majority of children who have the condition die within five years of diagnosis.
Gozi, who grew up in Lymington, said: “I was just heartbroken. It’s something that is life-limiting. It’s an awful feeling to be told something like that.”
The youngster spent 10 months in hospital and had to be fitted with a tracheotomy.
He had only been home for two months when in January last year he was diagnosed with liver cancer and sent back to Southampton General Hospital.
Maddox then underwent three difficult bouts of chemotherapy before having the tumour removed in Birmingham.
“They said if they didn’t do the surgery he would come back in a box. They were very blunt,” said Gozi.
But the tot fought on and was transferred back to Southampton General Hospital to recover, but then his kidneys failed. We were told at the time that they were using every bit of equipment and every bit of intensive care knowledge to keep him alive and if he got any worse there’d be nothing they could do.
“We had the talk – we’ve had it probably about five times. Normally we just take things with a pinch of salt because this is what Maddox does – he gets ill and bounces back, but this time we believed it. I just don’t know how they did it but they just pulled it out of the bag.”
Incredibly, and to the amazement of doctors and his parents, Maddox is now well enough to go home tomorrow.
Gozi said: “Most consultants are just amazed by Maddox. They didn’t think he’d be here today.
“He’s defied science and defied the doctors many times already. We just hope for the best.”