Amid the tragedy of the devasting COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to forget that every day, good things happen and sometimes even miracles.
One such a modern-day miracle occurred last month in Ohio.
Megan Sites, a 27-year-old labor and delivery nurse, was seven months pregnant with her second child when she started feeling feverish and developed a cough. While she tested negative for the flu, her fears were confirmed in late March when she received the results of her COVID-19 test.
On April 1st, Megan drove herself to a nearby emergency room, struggling to breathe and unable to lay flat. Her husband, Donny Sites, who is a Mercer County deputy sheriff, couldn’t accompany her because of social distancing orders.
At the hospital, she underwent testing, and doctors found her lungs clotted with the disease. Megan was conscious when the doctors put her on a ventilator, feeling the tube scrape down her trachea. Once she was stable, doctors transferred her to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.
At the hospital, her condition improved enough to take her off of the ventilator. However, within a day or two, her condition deteriorated rapidly.
Visitor restrictions at the hospital meant her husband Donny and their two-year-old daughter Reign, as well as other family members, could not be at her side during this trying time. Alone, Sites worried about the future.
She admitted to having a few breakdown moments when she feared she would not live to see her family again. She describes how much pain she was in, both physically and mentally, as she fought for her life and the life of her unborn child.
Megan Sites with her husband and daughter. Photo Source: GOFUNDME
Since she is a healthcare worker, she understood the gravity of her situation, and she asked to go back on the ventilator. This time, however, she asked her doctors to sedate her.
In the first week of April, doctors called Donny and told him they hoped that since Megan was young and in good overall health, the ventilator could get her pregnancy to 30 weeks.
Twenty minutes later, Donny received the most frightening call of his life. The doctors informed him that Megan’s lung had collapsed, and she was close to dying.
There was a chance they could save her, but it meant delivering the baby the next day and using a near-last-resort treatment.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a device that temporarily replaces the function of the heart and lungs and, in some cases, can be used to treat patients with COVID-19 that have severe lung damage.
As Sites was undergoing surgery to deliver her baby, the medical team was coordinating with UC Health to have the ECMO device transported by helicopter to the hospital.
Upon delivering her baby, surgeons inserted a port into one of Megan’s veins to divert her blood into the ECMO machine.
The ECMO processes the blood through a membrane that acts as a lung, helping to remove carbon dioxide and replenishing the blood with oxygen. The cleansed blood is then returned into Sites’ body via another port in a separate vein.
Additionally, doctors inserted a tube into the collapsed lung and kept Megan on the ventilator. To help her breathe better, they turned her on her stomach.
While still sedated, Megan Sites and the ECMO machine were transferred by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. After five days, Megan made a remarkable recovery, improving much faster than most patients in the same condition.
Due to visitation restrictions, Donny didn’t get to meet his son, Jameson Ivan Leroy Sites, until four days later. Baby Jameson was 3 pounds, 9 ounces and 17½ inches, and in good health. Moreover, he tested negative for the new coronavirus.
Doctors were beyond happy to see how quickly Megan’s health improved and consider this a modern-day miracle made possible by the collaboration between the hospitals and its medical staff.
At Altus Infusion, we are lucky to see modern-day miracles happen often. Biologic infusion therapy helps patients make remarkable recoveries and gives them the chance to live fuller, longer, and healthier lives.
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