Infant Girl Revived Twice within Hours of Birth Amniotic fluid entered Adi Yekuti's lungs at birth, leading to severe respiratory distress. The newborn was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital. There she was connected to one of Israel's few artificial heart and lung devices, saving her life. When Na'ama and Ido Yekuti, both age 30, entered the delivery room of a hospital in the north of Israel, they expected to leave with a healthy baby sister for their oldest son. Na'ama had undergone a normal pregnancy and underwent a normal delivery, with no complications—then the nightmare started. Adi entered into respiratory distress after having inhaled fecal amniotic fluid. "We waited to hear her cry and hold her in our arms", recalls Ido, "but from the team's reactions, we understood something was very wrong and they immediately began to treat her." Other physicians rushed to the scene to help the delivery room doctors save the infant, whose condition was rapidly deteriorating. Eventually they were able to suction the liquid from the baby's lungs; but damage had occurred and it was difficult for her to breath. Fearing for Adi's life, they connected her to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) device, designed to artificially support heart and lung function for an extended time. Rambam Health Care Campus was the nearest hospital with a designated ECMO team, headed by Dr. Zvi Adler, a leading cardiothoracic surgeon. The multidisciplinary team was comprised of a surgeon, Dr. Zvi Peled, Mr. Rami Heizler, head of the team of cardiothoracic technicians, and Dr. Amir Hadash, an attending physician in the NICU. The team needed to first stabilize the infant before rushing her to Rambam in an ambulance. Connecting her to the ECMO device required great surgical skill due to her difficult medical condition and tiny blood vessels. Once connected, her condition slightly improved and she was transferred to the NICU for careful monitoring. Adi remained on the ECMO device for nine days, fighting for her life. Dr. Yosef Ben-Ari, Director of the Wagner-Green Pediatric ICU, monitored her closely and after three weeks she was completely weaned from the device. "We are grateful," the Yekuti couple says, looking down at their little daughter with a smile. "There is no doubt the Rambam team saved her life with the ECMO device. In the hours after her birth we almost lost hope and prepared for the worst. The moment the Rambam team connected Adi to the ECMO device, everything turned around. The device is used in specific cases, most of them extreme, when the patient's heart or lungs need time for recovery. In Israel, there are only a few ECMOs available. Each year, the Department of Cardiac Surgery's ECMO team of dedicated Rambam physicians treats a number of cases involving young children and toddlers, a medical procedure that requires specific skills and the ability to cope with the challenges arising due to the young age of these patients.
In the photo: Na'ama and Ido Yekuti with their daughter Adi.
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