Girls Life Saved Thanks To Rarely Used Machine

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After a simple fever led to three cardiac arrests, 6-year-old Victoria Bermudez's family is glad she's finally out of intensive care. NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez has the story. (Published Tuesday, Apr 29, 2014)

    It all started with a fever and a mild cough. But it quickly turned into a lengthy stay at the hospital for six-year-old Victoria Bermudez. Now, after more than two months, Victoria can enjoy her life again, thanks to what her mom calls a miracle.

    Bermudez’s mother, Judith Ferrer, said when the symptoms first started; she gave Victoria Tylenol and Motrin to relieve the symptoms. Her daughter’s symptoms began to deteriorate and when Victoria started breathing heavily, Judith took her to an urgent care.

    Victoria was eventually transferred to Holtz Children’s Hospital where doctors told Ferrer her daughter had severe pneumonia from influenza and strep throat bacteria.

    "Septic shock, low blood pressure, inability to get oxygen to her lungs, 3 cardiac arrests, that's as close to death as you can get," said Dr. Barry Gelma.

    Ferrer said the doctors and an ECMO treatment saved her daughter’s life. ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) is a machine that takes over the work of the lungs and heart to allow those organs time to recover. According to doctors at Holtz Children's Hospital, only a handful of children receive ECMO treatment in their hospital.

    "I felt that I got hit by a train at 300 miles per hour. I do remember praying for angels the entire night. I just wanted someone to come in and save my baby girl," said Judith Ferrer.

    Tuesday afternoon, Ferrer thanked the doctors who she credits with saving her daughter's life and also had a message for parents.

    "Listen to your children. If a child complains, most of the time they're not lying. And she was complaining that her legs were hurting her, and that her belly was hurting. And I thought ‘oh, it's probably the Tylenol.’ By Monday, I should've known better," said Ferrer.

    Victoria can now breathe on her own and looks forward to playing with her sister, dancing ballet, and watching Frozen. Doctors say Victoria will be discharged by the end of the week. She is expected to make a full recovery.