My name is Tracy I am 50 years old and am married to Gareth and we have two children Emily and Matthew.  In the summer of 2017, I had a fall at home which resulted in fracturing my humerus. I had an operation to repair the break with plates and screws. I came home from the hospital and about a week or so later developed sepsis which then developed into Septic shock although the cause has never been confirmed to me how I developed sepsis.

I was admitted to my local hospital where over a period of days my condition became critical. The care I received from the Royal Gwent Hospital in South Wales in ICU was the best that they could provide. I was making steady progress and I complained of chest discomfort and my condition deteriorated. I had to be intubated and ventilated and was profoundly shocked. My family were told at this time I was going into multiple organ failure and had acute sepsis related cardiomyopathy with cardiogenic shock and septic shock. I can’t imagine how this news was received by my family especially my children aged 15 and 14 being told their mother wouldn’t survive.

They were then informed about a machine called an ECMO which might give me a chance of survival. It would support my heart and lungs and give them a chance to recover although the risks were high and in order to be eligible to receive treatment with the ECMO you had to fit certain criteria. In South Wales there were no ECMO machines and had I not been transferred I would have died. Against all the odds my family had a glimmer of hope although they were aware of the risks and were uncertain if I would be accepted because of the limited ECMO machines available.

Thankfully the call was made from the Royal Gwent Hospital by Dr Christine Weaver Critical Care Consultant and I was airlifted to the helipad at Battersea and then by ambulance to AICU at the Royal Brompton Hospital London into the care of Professor Dr Susanna Price Consultant Cardiologist and all the team who I can’t thank enough. On arrival I arrested and CPR was instituted for approximately 15 minutes.  I was then transferred to the theatre and put on the “VA ECMO”. This machine saved my life by doing all the work for my heart and lungs to help pump blood around my body so my heart and lungs could recover.

Amazingly after 2 weeks and many worrying times for my family I had recovered enough to be transferred back to the Royal Gwent Hospital to complete my recovery by air ambulance.

The ECMO and the care of the Doctors and nurses saved my life which my family and I can’t put into words our gratitude. I just hope in the future more machines become available to give critically ill patients a chance of life and become more readily available in all hospital around the UK. Due to the collaboration of Royal Gwent Hospital in South Wales and the Royal Brompton in London my life was given back to me.