Heart attack patient saved with ECMO treatment

Heart attack patient saved with ECMO treatment


Started getting very short of breath, just
doing nothing, just sitting there. Trying to eat. I was eating breakfast one morning. I had to pause between bites to take a breath. Fortunately, he came downstairs after he had
gone upstairs. He said “Donna, what does it mean if
my heart feels tight, my chest, etc., feels tight and I feel warm all over?” They were very direct with me and said “he
is very, very much in a critical situation. Unless we can turn some things around, we’re
gonna lose him.” Dr. Taheri was the cardiologist on call. And we are so fortunate that it was him because
he knew Dr. Najam, and he knew about ECMO, he knew about George Washington University. So it was already in his thought process. So ECMO, it provides circulatory and respiratory
support. So basically it does two functions. One is the pumping function, which the heart
does, and gas exchange, which the lungs do. Instead of letting that patient go down the
spiral, they can tap into this resource and give the patient a chance at surviving. It meant that Dr. Taheri and Dr. Zady in the
hospital at INOVA were already making arrangements for Don to be flown to GW so that he could
be administered ECMO because it would be the only thing that could potentially save his life. They finished it off with the ECMO program
which was the only thing out there that would have taken care of my inability to oxygenate
on my own. The first thing I remember on waking up was
Donna and Shannon explaining to me where I was why I was there, what had happened, because
I didn’t remember a thing about it. How can you possibly say enough to thank somebody for the fact that I’m here and able to talk to you. If you know the word ECMO, and you know it
sooner than later, you may well save the life of someone. So thank you so much to everyone that was
involved and we owe our current lives and our future lives to everything that you did.