Toxic flu H1N1 hospitalizes nurse for months -54 days on ECMO

  1. Found at Philadelphia inquirer:


    When flu is toxic: Nurse lands in hospital for three months

    David Templeton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2014, 2:25 AM


    PITTSBURGH-It started with a simple cough.

    She dismissed it as just another seasonal cold on Jan. 2.


    Two days later she had a 104-degree temperature prompting her to go to the Allegheny General Hospital emergency room, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia, prescribed antibiotics and sent home.

    What happened next was a full-blown life-and-death emergency that Terri Thieret, 48, an AGH nurse of 25 years, never could have imagined after she forgot to get a flu shot because of the rat race of daily life: When her condition deteriorated further, she was forced back to the hospital and placed in the intensive care unit.
    And there she would remain for the next three months...

    ...Two months without any bodily movement had left her feeling paralyzed. She was unable to lift her hand or raise her legs. She couldn't hold a pen or a phone. The months in bed also left her with a pressure ulcer on her back 5 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep into the muscle. Early in April, she was transferred to the West Penn Acute Rehab Unit and was released at the end of April, finally returning home to continue physical and occupational rehabilitation there.'''...

    Hers was an exceptionally long time on ECMO-54 days-which is testament to the phenomenal nursing care she received that didn't result in any permanent complications," he said. The length of time on ECMO "is almost a record here and probably a record for someone with as good an outcome as she had. She may be coming back to work in a week." She was in fact cleared to return recently...

    Of course, the big public message here is the importance of flu vaccines. Theiret and her husband, a drugstore manager, say they are newly committed to getting immunized to help prevent the ordeal they just experienced.

    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Sep 27, '14
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   Spidey's mom
    Thanks Karen - perfect timing.
  4. by   duskyjewel
    But I'm not gonna get my flu shot because of the 0.00000001% chance I might get XYZ syndrome.....
  5. by   Guttercat
    Good reminder. Thanks for posting. No flu vac in any given year is 100%, but it does decrease overall chances of contracting a debilitating illness.
  6. by   No Stars In My Eyes
    What is ECMO?
  7. by   wtbcrna
  8. by   No Stars In My Eyes
    Thanks!
    Wow, just reading about it was scary and amazing at the same time!
  9. by   Julie Reyes
    That is amazing that she survived! Our flu clinics start next week. If any of our employees refuse the flu immunization, they have to wear masks the entire flu season while at work.
  10. by   JustADream
    I agree that flu vaccines are important, but I also find it interesting that she had "phenomenal nursing care," and yet also obtained a "pressure ulcer on her back 5 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep into the muscle." Could just be me, but that sounds off.
  11. by   meanmaryjean
    Quote from JustADream
    I agree that flu vaccines are important, but I also find it interesting that she had "phenomenal nursing care," and yet also obtained a "pressure ulcer on her back 5 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep into the muscle." Could just be me, but that sounds off.
    Not sure about adult ECMO, but in the peds ICU, our ECMO patients cannot be 'turned'. We place them on pressure reduction surfaces, and every hour or two wiggle our hands beneath them to reduce pressure, but because of our patient's size relative to the size of the cannulas, turning could dislodge the catheter tip from their teeny tiny SVC/RAs.
    54 days on ECMO - all I can say is wow!
  12. by   Here.I.Stand
    Quote from JustADream
    I agree that flu vaccines are important, but I also find it interesting that she had "phenomenal nursing care," and yet also obtained a "pressure ulcer on her back 5 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep into the muscle." Could just be me, but that sounds off.
    When they're THAT sick, pressure ulcers are almost unavoidable. She was on ECMO for the better part of two months and probably unable to be turned; probably on lots of pressors; body shunting blood to the brain first and away from the skin, because it prioritizes like that; nutrition may not be adequate for her needs.

    I'm sure the nursing care was impeccable, for her to even come out alive...and she's returning to her full functioning now.
  13. by   Jessy_RN
    ..........and still people will take their chances. smh
  14. by   dudette10
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    Not sure about adult ECMO, but in the peds ICU, our ECMO patients cannot be 'turned'. We place them on pressure reduction surfaces, and every hour or two wiggle our hands beneath them to reduce pressure, but because of our patient's size relative to the size of the cannulas, turning could dislodge the catheter tip from their teeny tiny SVC/RAs.
    54 days on ECMO - all I can say is wow!
    Thanks for explaining this. I suspected it had to do with the complexities of ECMO access points, and your post confirmed it.

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