People: Mom Who Got COVID and Needed Lung Transplants at 9 Months Pregnant Celebrates Daughter's 1st Birthday
People.com recently profiled Smidt Heart Institute patient Amy Yamaguchi, who overcame a severe COVID-19 illness after receiving a lifesaving lung transplant at Cedars-Sinai.
Yamaguchi told People.com she was nine months pregnant when she tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020. Her symptoms worsened to the point that walking from her living room to her bedroom became impossible. In early December 2020, Yamaguchi underwent a caesarean section at an Orange County hospital to give her lungs room to breathe.
After delivering her daughter, Maren, Yamaguchi remained on a ventilator and was airlifted to Cedars-Sinai, where she was placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a heart-lung bypass machine, that was doing the work her lungs were supposed to do. She was put into an induced coma until early February 2021.
Despite giving Yamaguchi time to heal and supporting her with every available treatment and therapy, her team of physicians accepted that her lungs would never recover. Yamaguchi's care team and family decided that a double lung transplant was her best chance at survival.
Yamaguchi's transplant at Cedars-Sinai in April 2021 was a success despite a series of ministrokes, which significantly affected her memory and ability to move the left side of her body. She couldn't remember being pregnant or giving birth and didn't recognize her husband, she told People.com.
Right around Mother's Day, her family brought Maren to Cedars-Sinai so Yamaguchi could meet her for the first time. "It was beautiful. She was 5 months old. She wasn't newborn, so I was nervous to meet her," she told People.com. "But the bond was there."
After several months at a rehab facility, Yamaguchi finally went home in August 2021 to continue her recovery. It wasn’t easy, but she slowly started remembering again and getting back to normal.
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