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ECMO treatment gives woman a second chance at life (video)

By The Health News Team | February 19, 2024

Breathing is a natural function of the body most people take for granted. But for individuals with a severe respiratory disease that affects the lungs, such as asthma, not being able to breathe can be an extremely challenging — even life-threatening — reality.

Late last year, San Diego native Brandi Garcia, age 36, experienced a severe asthma attack. She fell into the arms of her husband, Samuel Garcia, a certified respiratory therapist.

With her condition quickly deteriorating, Brandi was rushed to the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center Emergency Department (ED). There, Dr. Robert Minera, an emergency medicine doctor, and other highly-skilled doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists hurried to her aid.

The care team saw that Brandi needed more than intubation. They decided extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a form of life support that replaces the function of the heart and lungs, was the innovative technology that could save her life.

Brandi was transferred to Sharp Memorial Hospital’s ED, where she continued ECMO under the care of Dr. Zachary Shinar, an emergency medicine doctor, and a team of specialists. After two weeks in the hospital, she was discharged just before the holidays and reunited with her family.

Brandi says she received a second chance at life. Without ECMO, she believes she would not be here today.

Watch the video above to learn more about Brandi’s incredible story of survival and hear from her Sharp care team.

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