NEW YORK (PIX11) — A mother was 7 months pregnant when she went to the hospital with pneumonia.
That’s the last thing she remembers before waking up 45 days later from a medically induced coma. She had come down the H1N1 virus, or the so-called Swine Flu.
She was treated by a treatment known as ECMO – or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation – that uses an external device to oxygenate and remove carbon dioxide from patients’ blood, according to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
It acts like an artificial lung, taking out a patient’s blood from their system, oxygenating it and removing the carbon dioxide, then returning the blood to the patient’s body.
The flu strain first emerged in 2009 and triggered a pandemic, and now H1N1 is active again this year.
The strain is responsible for high rates of hospitalization and deaths among people ages 18 to 64, and has hit young people particularly hard this flu season.
Symptoms of H1N1 are the same as seasonal flu symptoms — including fever, body aches, fatigue and cough — and the virus spreads in the same way the seasonal flu does.
The elderly, young children and those with weakened immune systems and chronic health conditions are most vulnerable to the H1N1 strain.