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Treatment: ECMO

Sepsis
Keelan Tucker

Imagine walking down the halls of a hospital and a doctor stops you and says, "Your baby is not dying right now but he is probably going to." Those exact words became reality as my mom walked down the halls of St. Vincent's 22 years ago. After birth, I caught this deadly infection in the blood called sepsis. I only had a 7% chance to live and with any shot at life I would have to be put on this machine called ECMO. ECMO is a heart and lung bypass machine that takes the blood out of your body, filters oxygen through it before returning it back to your body. At the time, there was only one ECMO machine in the state of Alabama, and it was located at the Children's Hospital of Alabama. After they realized I needed this machine, they rushed me to Children's. As I arrived, I was at the point of death with seven chest tubes and was on a ventilator 100%. They told my mom that there was a risk of me being mentally challenged if I was put on this machine. At the time those words were the least of her concerns. All she wanted was her baby to survive. I was the 18th baby to be put on ECMO at The Children's Hospital of Alabama. I immediately began to improve after being hooked up to the ECMO machine. I was on ECMO for 4 days and spent the first month of my life in the hospital. For many years later, I continued to go to Children's Hospital for doctor's appointments and appearances on the Children's Miracle Network Telethon. My body was very vulnerable and I seemed to have caught everything that came my way. Twenty two years later, I am a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in Geography with a minor in Biology. The only health problems I have today is an occasional asthma attack. I have a scar on the right side of my neck and several scars on my chest. I wouldn't trade these scars for anything in the world. Everytime I see them, they remind me of how blessed I have been and if it wasn't for the grace of God, Children's Hospital, and a machine called ECMO, I would not be here today. My doctor used to always tell my mom that those scars are my war wounds but thanks to Children's Hospital I won the war.
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