In early April, she tested positive for COVID-19 at a Dayton hospital. Within just a few days, the virus progressed rapidly within her body, her condition quickly worsened and she was placed on a ventilator. Despite this, her lungs continued to deteriorate. Amazingly, Megan, while under sedation, had to give birth in order to save her baby’s life. Her tiny son remains in neonatal intensive care but is healthy and doing well, with no signs or symptoms of coronavirus.
As Greater Cincinnati’s only adult heart transplant program, UC Health was consulted by her Dayton medical team because Megan’s condition made her a candidate for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO (pronounced “eck-moe”) treatment which provides short-term life support for patients with a failing heart and/or lungs. The device replaces the function of the heart and lungs for patients, allowing physicians time to treat patients suffering from the most critical conditions. For example, ECMO is used during life-threatening conditions such as severe lung damage from infection, or shock after a massive heart attack.
Offering both air and mobile ECMO patient transport, the UC Health ECMO transport team immediately flew to Dayton via UC Health Air Care to stabilize Megan’s condition and place her on ECMO before transporting her by ambulance to University of Cincinnati Medical Center for continued treatment.
“Megan was placed on ECMO specifically for her severe lung failure related to COVID-19 disease which was resistant to conventional treatment,” states Suzanne Bennett, MD, UC Health critical care anesthesiologist and associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine for the UC College of Medicine. “This is our first pregnant woman diagnosed with COVID-19 to require ECMO therapy due to severe lung failure. She made an incredibly remarkable recovery, improving much faster than most people we’ve seen in this condition. Watching her FaceTime with her family and new baby left all of us with a renewed hope for others battling disease.”
Megan’s amazing recovery enabled her to be discharged from UC Medical Center on Tuesday, April 21, returning to her home in Celina with her husband. “Dr. Bennett is wonderful and answered all of my questions. It truly takes a team to provide the care that I received at UC Health,” she said. “It feels unreal to me to actually be alive and talking with people.”