CINCINNATI — Megan Sites of Dayton, Ohio, tested positive for COVID-19 at a hospital there earlier this month. Within just a few days, she took a turn for the worse and had to be placed on a ventilator -- all while she was seven months pregnant.
The 27-year-old has thankfully recovered from the severe case of COVID-19, thanks to doctors at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, who used unprecedented treatment for the health system.
“Her lungs were failing and all conventional treatment that we typically use, she was resistant to,” said Dr. Suzanne Bennett, associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine.
By the time Sites had to give birth to her son prematurely while on a ventilator, a UC medical team was heading to Dayton, preparing to put her on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). The treatment uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream.
“With COVID-19 we had not seen [pregnant] women who had gotten sick enough to require ECMO,” said Dr. Bennett.
She was part of that team who flew Sites down to UC Medical Center. Even after they placed the woman on the life support machine, Bennett said, the odds were still not ideal.
“Her survival, had we not deployed ECMO, was less than 20%,” she said. “With ECMO her survival jumped to close to 60%.”
Yet, within a week, Sites made a miraculous recovery and was able to come off ECMO. Because of visitation restrictions, Sites woke up from sedation alone.
“Imagine the patient who wakes up and they can’t see their family either,” Bennett said. “Many of our nurses spend hours with the patient, in the room, just to be there for them.”
She was able to FaceTime with her family and finally see her newborn baby, who fortunately is not showing any signs of COVID-19.
“This particular patient and the journey she had is one we don’t want anyone else to have. But it gives all of us hope that there’s opportunities for people to get better,” Bennett said.
Sites was discharged from UC Medical Center earlier this week and is now back home near Dayton. Her baby boy, still in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, is healthy and doing well.