WATCH | 112 days on life support: Covid-19 patient is recovering after a double lung transplant

08 July 2020 - 07:00
By Reuters

A Covid-19 patient has received a double lung transplant in South Korea, offering hope for others.

The 50-year-old woman was diagnosed with the disease and hospitalised in late February. She then spent 16 weeks on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support, which involves circulating a patient’s blood through a machine that adds oxygen to red blood cells.

That’s the longest any Covid-19 patient in the world has spent on ECMO support, her doctors said.

“The probability of successful lung transplants in ECMO patients is 50%. Fortunately, our patient was well prepared before the surgery when we found the donor,” said Dr Kim Hyoung-soo, director of the hospital’s ECMO programme, who was in charge of the surgery.

Lee Sun-hee, a head nurse in the ECMO programme who has cared for the patient since February, said the woman seemed to have a stronger than usual will to live, in part driven by being a mother of two.

"She told us, 'I'm grateful for the sunshine, for the moonlight. I'm so grateful that I am breathing'," Lee said.