(NEW ORLEANS) -- A seven-year-old boy was released from a New Orleans hospital Sunday after a 480-day battle with H1N1 influenza; the once pandemic virus remembered not so fondly as swine flu.
Robert "Boo" Maddox V was admitted to New Orleans Children's Hospital in critical condition Nov. 19, 2009, five months after the World Health Organization declared the H1N1 outbreak a global pandemic.
Boo's epic hospital stay, which spanned two birthdays and included 10 surgeries, was a shock therapy of sorts for a family once unfamiliar with the agony of having a sick child.
"I've got five kids, the oldest being 20, the youngest three, we never had a sickness," Boo's dad, Robert Maddox IV, told ABC News affiliate WGNO. "So we didn't really realize what went on [in] these places, but God has ... [given] us a valuable lesson that will stick with us the rest of our lives."
H1N1 wreaked havoc on Boo's body, leaving him open to one complication after another.
"There were times when it seemed like he was getting better, and then he'd have a setback," Children's Hospital communications manager Chris Price said.
Machines took over for Boo's heart and lungs while he fought off near-fatal infections, he said. But even with organs failing, the lively "jokester" never lost hope, or his sense of humor, Price added.
"He loved to pull pranks," he said. "He would put little rubber roaches in the bed with him for when the nurses would come. That's one of the most amazing things: to spend 480 days stuck in a bed in one room and to still have a sense of humor."
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