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Brought Back to Life

When 22-month-old Emma’s lungs suddenly collapsed, doctors connected her to an ECMO machine. The unusually prolonged connection of 68 days saved her life
Date: 25.06.18 | Update: 15.07.18

Emma Schneider, aged 22 months, arrived at Schneider Children’s ER with a fever. While being treated, her lungs collapsed. She was transferred in critical condition to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and then the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit headed by Prof. Ovdi Dagan, where she was connected to an ECMO machine for 68 days. ECMO -Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation - replaces the activity of the heart and lungs.

The prolonged connection to ECMO allowed Emma’s lungs to successfully recover despite the inherent dangers and complications of being on support for such a lengthy period. She was finally discharged after 103 days of hospitalization.

Little Emma’s parents said emotionally to the medical team upon her discharge: “Thank you very much for bringing our daughter back to life. The dedicated and skilled care our daughter received from the moment of arrival in the ER to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and throughout the lengthy period in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit saved her life. Our special thanks to Prof. Ovdi Dagan, Dr. Ofer Schiller, and Dr. Eran Shostak for their unrelenting devotion, for their ability to make difficult decisions, for their daily contact and sharing every dilemma, for their patience and listening; to ECMO technician Golan Shukrun for his devoted and professional care even on weekends and at irregular hours; and to head nurse Rim Abd El Hai and the nursing staff in the department. We were constantly comforted in the knowledge that our daughter was in the best hands. They were amazing.”

Prof. Dagan stated that “there is no doubt that due to the alertness of the medical team, and her being in a hospital which has an ECMO machine and advanced care systems, with all the disciplines under one roof, that Emma’s life was saved. Such a long connection to ECMO is most rare.”


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