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ECMO Patient Stories

Noah Cooper

When Noah Cooper graduated Columbia University in 2008, he could never have imagined that five years later, he would return to Columbia as an ECMO patient at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

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Prasha and Daughter

Prasha Tuladhar’s sneakers, horn-rimmed glasses, and chic cropped hair could be the hallmarks of any New Yorker: shiny, sharp, shrewd. Little would onlookers know that without NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s ECMO Program, Prasha would not be alive.

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Lizzy Asher and Baby Leo

Lizzie Asher was pregnant when she collapsed from large blood clots in her lungs. Her baby was delivered by emergency cesarean section and Lizzie was kept alive by Drs. Daniel Brodie and Matthew Bacchetta and their ECMO machine.

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Chris Costa

Chris Costa recalls how his life was saved by ECMO. Chris was injured in a motorcycle accident; his lungs began to fail; and ECMO was used to oxygenate his blood while his body recovered.

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Glenn McMahon and wife

Glenn McMahon, a 56 year-old man from New Jersey, thought his bariatric surgery would only require an overnight stay. Following surgery, however, Glenn developed pneumonia and a severe form of the acute respiratory distress syndrome. He ended up in the intensive care unit fighting for his life.

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Jay Shiland

On a skiing vacation, Jay Shiland developed what is believed to be pneumonia. His condition became grave and doctors employed ECMO to add oxygen to his blood and allow Mr. Shiland's lungs to rest and recover.

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Nichele Calhoun

Nichele Calhoun, 34, was five months pregnant when she learned she had pulmonary hypertension ─ abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs, which makes the right side of the heart work harder than normal. She had felt fine. But a few weeks after her son was born in fall 2010, she found it challenging just to get out of the car.

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Kevin Rogers

Kevin Rogers was an otherwise healthy 25-year-old living in Staten Island when his life was turned upside down in May 2012. After a visit to the doctor for back discomfort, he was told it was likely musculoskeletal pain related to the physical nature of his work for a heating oil company. But when pain relievers failed to help, he and his mother, Evelyn, knew something else needed to be done.

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Pamela Abma

Her recovery was by no means complete when she left the hospital, however. She had lost twenty pounds while on ECMO, and was extremely weak; she could barely walk around. She desperately needed to put on the muscle mass she had lost. Choosing to forgo rehabilitation, she hired a personal trainer, and began her recovery by using weights in her swimming pool. Before long, she was spending the hot summer days swimming laps. Her strength gradually returned, and she was thrilled to be able to attend her son's wedding in August.

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Nell Pritchard

Nell Pritchard looks like a normal, healthy young woman. She's 21 years old, 5'4" tall, and weighs 120 pounds--which, for Nell, is a miracle. A few months ago, she was down to 80 pounds and fighting for every breath. Her lifelong cystic fibrosis combined with a persistent bacterial infection had resulted in severe respiratory failure. She had been in and out of Albany Medical Center and on different antibiotics but nothing seemed to work.

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Center for Acute Respiratory Care

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