Sophia – ARDS Survivor

Sophia – ARDS Survivor


Sophia, from Dublin and her Amazing Survivor Story

On August 31, 2005, Sophia went into Mullingar Hospital. She was eighteen years old and twenty-nine weeks pregnant with her second child. Sophia has a kidney infection and pnemonia. Sophia was put into a drug induced coma and on a ventilator. Her kidneys leaked and she developed septicemia. She was then transferred to Mater Hospital in Dublin by police escort. The following day my placenta burst and Sophia had an emergency c-section. She delivered a baby boy weighing 3 pounds,1 ounce and was transferred to a children’s hospital. Sophia developed multi organ failure, her lungs collapsed and her body swelled so much that she was unrecognizable.

Seven chest drains were inserted to drain the fluid. Each day Sophia got worse; she was diagnosed with ARDS and doctors thought that there was no hope. Sophia’s parents were called to say ‘goodbye’ as the doctors said she was hanging on by a thread. Her family was told that the only remaining hope was an ECMO machine, but that was not available in Ireland. Luckily, doctors from Sweden came over by jet on the October 8, 2005. They decided to put the ECMO machine Sophia and then transfered her to the Karolinski hospital in Sweden. Sophia’s mother followed on a different plane and though it was risky, Sophia survived the transport.

She awoke to her mum beside her and did not know where she was. She tried to speak but could not. She had a tracheostomy. The first thing that Sophia noticed was her pregnancy bump was gone and Sophia feared that she lost her son but her mother told her that he was fine and showed her photos. Sophia was now nineteen; she had slept through her birthday.

Just when the doctors thought Sophia was getting better, she got worse and had to be put back into the coma; her lungs were bleeding and she needed operations to remove the clots. After the operation, the wound kept bleeding and Sophia had to go back to the operating room three times. Sophia spent 59 days on ECMO, then was weaned but still ventilated and on December 5, 2005, Sophia was transferred back to Dublin. Still, she was unable to move.

This was extremely frustrating and physical therapy brought pain. Finally, in February, the ventilator was removed; Sophia was on an oxygen mask and on oxygen nasally. in March, Sophia took my first steps. Those two steps left her exhausted and each day was difficult, but she longed to be dome with her two boys, Darren who was 4 years old, and Kevin who was only a couple of months old. They were being cared for by Sophia’s mother and grandmother.

On July 30, 2006, Sophia left the hospital. She went home in a wheelchair and on oxygen 24 hours a day after ten months in the hospital. Today Sophia remains on oxygen 24 hours each day and cannot walk too far as she gets short of breath. However, she recently gave birth to her third son but doctors have stressed that she should not have any more children. Sophia loves children and finds this difficult to accept but she is so thankful for all that she has.