I'm a first-time mom. And the first in Michigan to receive a COVID-related double lung transplant. I am Henry.

DennisJackie had no idea that it would be 91 days before she'd be home again when her husband drove her to the Emergency Department at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. She was 36 weeks pregnant and suffering from intense COVID-19 symptoms; cough, headache, fever, nausea and shortness of breath.

She was 36 weeks pregnant and suffering from intense COVID-19 symptoms.

She was immediately admitted, and in just a few days, her condition became so critical that doctors induced labor. Seven days after arriving, she gave birth to her first child, a healthy baby girl. Unfortunately, Jackie's health worsened, and she developed COVID-19 related pneumonia.

Despite plasma transfusions, being placed on a ventilator and high amounts of oxygen to normalize her blood oxygen level, Jackie's breathing rapidly deteriorated. Days later, she was transferred to the intensive care unit at Henry Ford Hospital and, ultimately, the cardiovascular ICU. There, she was placed on a specialized machine called ECMO that replaces the function of a patient’s lungs.

Henry Ford Hospital is one of a few hospitals equipped to use this form of life-saving support. ECMO was designed for critical situations when a patient is extremely ill—and their lungs or heart need assistance—and other life support measures have fallen short.

Unfortunately, Jackie's condition continued to worsen, and she was immediately placed on a transplant list. Ten days later, she became the first COVID-19 related double lung transplant recipient in Michigan. The transplant was performed by an experienced team led by thoracic surgeon Daizo Tanaka, M.D., and cardiothoracic surgeon Dimitrios Apostolou, M.D.

Dr. Hassan Nemeh, the Surgical Director of Henry Ford's Lung Transplant Program, remarked that Jackie's damaged lungs were the "worst he's ever seen" and noted, "When things were not looking hopeful, the courage and persistence of the team to go aggressively with ECMO was important in the transition for her to be able to receive a transplant."

Jackie's damaged lungs were the "worst he's ever seen"...

Three long months later, Jackie finally came home to her new family with a new pair of lungs. "After being away so long, I just wanted to get home and be with my family. I missed my husband and baby so much." Her will and the determination of her pioneering care team are the very definition of Henry.

Bringing New Life to Transplants

Discover how groundbreaking transplant procedures are keeping more families like Jackie’s intact.

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