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ECMO - Cathy's Story

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Posted 10/13/2014

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Cathy wasn't sure what was happening when she passed out as she arrived for work one Monday morning. Paramedics rushed her to The Nebraska Medical Center ER where doctors quickly found she had a large blood clot blocking the flow of blood from her heart to one of her lungs. Within minutes, her heart stopped. The ER team performed CPR and got her heart beating again while a cardiac surgeon prepared to put her on ECMO, a temporary heart-lung bypass machine. After two days on ECMO, Cathy woke up. A few days later, she was well enough to walk out of the hospital. Her doctor says at least 90% of people who present with her condition die from it. Cathy says she is grateful to her friends, family and the staff at the medical center who refused to give up on her. A month after her brush with death, she went back to work. For more information about The Nebraska Medical Center, call 1-800-922-0000 or visit