Extracorporeal Life Support | ECMO

Patients’ Emotional Stories of Surviving with ECMO and ECLS Support

View stories from the loved ones of patients and patients themselves who were treated with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) and Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS). These emotional stories drive home the fear, pain and ultimate relief that many patients experience through life-saving extracorporeal support.

Jay's Story

After 24 h in the emergency room (ER), my first reaction when the doctor said they finally had an intensive care unit (ICU) bed was relief. I didn’t know enough (or wasn’t thinking clearly enough) to fully appreciate what that meant. We arrived at the ER on a Sunday night, with Jay battling what turned out to be “impressive” pneumonia in both lungs. I had walked by a group of ER doctors huddled around an X-ray that was all white. I didn’t realize until later that it was Jay’s.


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Tonia's Emergency

Tonia Elrod is the epitome of success and hope.

Story credit to Matt Martin

The Procter & Gamble executive has worked hard to achieve great accomplishments in her career. She lives a happy life with her husband, Adam, and their three children—Caden, Gavin and Maley.

But on Feb. 2, 2019, her life would take a turn in a direction she could never have imagined.

Despite appearing healthy and active, the 45-year-old suffered a massive heart at...

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Ariel's Story

“Yes, like the Little Mermaid,” she laughs, expecting the Disney movie reference that has come her way for the past two decades. However, since her birth the 22-year old’s identity has been immersed in something much more meaningful than anything under the sea. Just ask Ivor Berkowitz, the pediatric intensivist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center who remembers the “come urgently” call from a fellow in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) like it was yest...

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Braelyn's Story

Braelyn and her twin sister, Brielle, were born full-term in December of 2018 and were healthy as far as we knew. Their births were joyous and free of any complication. Just three weeks later, that changed. Braelyn appeared to be breathing rapidly and was having what we came to learn are called retractions. She was taken to her pediatrician's office and during the exam, her pediatrician appeared to be listening to her heart longer than usual. She then said she would need to get a cardiolo...

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Brianna's Incredible Journey

At age 16, with credit to my academic successes, I graduated high school, enrolling in the Athletic Training program at a local private college. School not turning out as I had hoped, I opted to take a semester off. I began working two jobs, routinely clocking 40+ hours per week. I started to tire. Given the nature of my work – with many long hours on my feet – I brushed my fatigue off as nothing in particular. It never occurred to me I could be sick.
My doctor found otherwise: I had mo...

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David's Long Battle

I was one of the early swine flu victims at age 48 back in late 2009, that progressed to viral pneumonia and severe ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). It all started with what seemed like a cold, that led to me phoning in sick to work on Friday 27 November 2009, fully expecting to be back in work on the Monday but I was never to return.
Over the following two weeks I got progressively worse and spoke with my GP on three occasions. The last time, a friend was with me who rememb...

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Julian's Story

I had my son Julian on April 6, 2012. I was diagnosed with Cholestasis and Group B Strep, which resulted in me having to deliver my son prior to 38 weeks.

My son was born via cesarian, and when he was born, he contracted Group B strep and developed Pneumonia and Pulmonary Hypertension of the Lungs.

Julian was flown by helicopter to Georgetown University Hospital due to his condition almost immediately after he was born. The next day, my husband and I were notified that...

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Kevin's Cross Continent Journey

Our son Kevin was put on VV ECMO on Friday the 13th, 2017, while in Colombia South America.
He contracted the flu and was given a 5% chance of survival without ECMO.

Kevin was airlifted by the US Air Force to San Antonio Military Medical Center where he was put on VA ECMO, and subsequently airlifted to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC.

Kevin was taken off ECMO at the end of April 2017 and was discharged from the hospital on May 21, 2017- his 32nd birthd...

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Titou's COVID story

My husband who never gets sick started with a headache and fever on March 4, 2020. He and I had just returned from a quick weekend getaway in NYC.

After 2 days, the fever continued, and he assumed it was the “just the flu”.

On Sunday, we went in to be checked out. Flu and Strep were both negative.

On Tuesday, his primary care office said to call back if fever continued until Thursday. On Wednesday morning, his fever was 104. A family MD friend...

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Ricky Gray’s Amazing ECMO Journey

“My family and friends kept me going,” says Ricky. “They knew how far I’d come with my recovery and training.”

But there was something more besides the satisfaction of completing a full Ironman triathlon. What also fue...

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4 patient stories from Kuwait


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