It was more than luck and timing that helped save a Winnipeg woman who nearly died at St. Boniface Hospital. Erin Thomas survived a medical emergency thanks to specialized care and equipment.
After telling her husband she wasn’t feeling well, Erin Thomas was driven to the doctor in February 2017. They recommended an EKG.
Erin went straight to St. Boniface Hospital for tests and by the time they got to the front of the building, she couldn’t walk any more. Staff took her to get the EKG, then she collapsed.
She had suffered a “widow-maker” heart attack.
“My heart was basically vibrating,” Thomas said. “They did compressions on me for 80 minutes and then I was on life support and in the Asper Centre ICU.”
80 minutes is a long time for compressions, so Lucas was called in.
Lucas is a machine that straps around a patient’s chest and continues compressions, mechanically.
Doctor’s also used a device, only available at St.Boniface, called the ECMO machine. It’s a blood oxygenation system that takes your blood out, oxygenates it, then returns is to your body. It allows the heart and lungs time to recuperate from trauma.
Access to these two devices is what helped Thomas survive.
After nearly a month, Erin was cleared to return home. To this day, she is still adapting to her healing body.
“There’s lots of stuff I still can’t do. I can’t run, I can’t lift heavy things, stairs are almost impossible,” said Thomas.
Despite her restricted abilities, Erin Thomas considers herself lucky and grateful for the care and technology at St.Boniface Hospital.