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After Thanksgiving last fall, Lisa Brunet noticed that her little girl was developing a bit of a cold. It seemed reasonable since they had enjoyed a busy family time and naps had not been on schedule. As she started to have more struggles breathing on the Tuesday night, Lisa thought it might be worth a trip to the South Health Campus as they live so far in the south.
When she arrived, the triage nurse whisked Madison back immediately as her oxygen saturation levels were dangerously low. In spite of numerous interventions and medications, they couldn’t get them to come up, so by Wednesday morning, Lisa was told that they needed to intubate her daughter and transport her to the PICU at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. To say this was all a little shocking is an understatement.
In the PICU, Madison had some struggles, but slowly started to improve and by Saturday, they thought it might be safe to extubate her (which they did)…but by the next morning, things had taken a very dangerous turn and she had to be reintubated and as her condition continued to decline, the family was given the devastating news that their baby girl needed to be put on Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS) in order to give her lungs and heart a chance to rest and hopefully heal.
With her fiery red hair, it quickly became clear that Madison was prepared to fight for her life through any obstacle that could come her way. “If there was a challenge she could have on ECLS, she had it,” says Lisa. “But thank goodness everyone worked so hard to overcome the obstacles and we got her through to the other side!”
After almost two months in hospital, Madison went home to her family on December 4. She suffered a stroke and requires follow-up physio and occupational therapy, all of which has progressed with great success so far.
Lisa knows that ECLS is donor-funded equipment at our hospital. It wasn’t that long ago that this kind of intervention would not have been available for Madison here in Calgary. She can’t imagine what it would have been like to be at Radiothon with a completely different story. She’s so grateful for all the people – and donors – who made it possible for her to still have her feisty little girl!