Coronavirus: Special treatment saves woman pregnant with twins

ECMO treatment saves woman pregnant with twins

FRESNO, Calif. — A woman pregnant with twins and infected with the coronavirus credits a specialized treatment with saving their lives.

Dallas Selling, 39, started feeling cold-like symptoms at the end of Thanksgiving, KMPH reported. After five days it became difficult to breathe and she went to the hospital, where she spent 49 days in all. She does not recall 25 of the days she was there.

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“You need to listen to your body and know when it’s time to go,” said Selling. “And I’m glad I did when I did because I may not of been here if I didn’t.”

She was put on a ventilator, required a breathing tube and eventually doctors tried a specialized treatment called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

“We are able to take some of the blood out of the patient’s body and we pump it through a machine that then can provide oxygen back to the blood and remove carbon dioxide, the waste products from the blood,” Dr. Crystal Ives Tallman, a physician at Community Regional Medical Center who treated Selling, told KMPH.

Doctors have used the treatment on about 20 patients. Selling is the first who was pregnant.

“We only offer ECMO when someone is relatively young and otherwise healthy,” Tallman said. “And they have a good chance to come through it OK because it’s very intense therapy.”

Selling is happy to be released. Her twin daughters are due in April.

“I never thought that it would be to this extent, I never thought there’d be a chance of dying, honestly, or that I (would) never see my family again,” Selling said. “I’m so grateful for the ECMO team because they really did save my life.”