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DALLAS There is new life for a Haitian baby who was brought to North Texas for lifesaving medical treatment.

Even doctors are astonished that four-month-old Orleans Francois has survived. If not for an alert missionary, Medical City Dallas and the LEAP Foundation, his last breath might have been taken in the family's tent in Haiti.

Orleans is adorably alert for a child who had been pronounced dead twice. The first time was when he was just 28 days old.

While he was being placed in the morgue, that's when they heard him moving in the wrapping they had placed him in, said the infant's mother, Fabienne Francois, speaking through a translator.

At that time, Francois didn't know why her son kept fainting.

He was born with a very small jaw, and it's called Pierre Robin sequence, explained craniofacial surgeon Dr. Craig Hobar. There's not room in the mouth for the tongue, so the tongue lays back against the back of the throat and there's no room to breathe.

Dr. Hobar diagnosed what was wrong with Orleans after a missionary thought this miracle baby who had cheated death deserved a chance at life.

Two weeks ago, the child underwent lifesaving jaw surgery at Medical City Dallas, where tiny screws connected to rods in his jaw have slowly stretched his bone.

And that brought his tongue forward and gave him room to breathe behind his tongue, Dr. Hobar said.

Orleans' jaw is already about a thumbnail longer on both sides.

It's enough to make both son and mother breathe easy.

It will take about six weeks for baby Orleans' new jawbone to harden. After that, he'll be able to return to Haiti for a normal life.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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