Mother expecting twins survives COVID-19 after 49 days in the hospital, ECMO treatment

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FRESNO, California (KGPE/KSEE) – A Clovis mother expecting twins is back home with her family after a 7 week battle with the Coronavirus.

Doctors credit her survival to a special treatment called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Community Regional Medical Centers said she is the first woman with twins to receive the ECMO treatment locally.

Dallas Selling, 39, said she started feeling sick around Thanksgiving. It started with cold-like symptoms then progressed into trouble breathing.

Her family called 9-1-1 and she was taken by ambulance to Clovis Community Medical Center on December 3.

“It was just too much I couldn’t do it on my own and on that Monday I turned 19 weeks pregnant,” said Selling.

Doctors knew she was vulnerable and transferred her to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno because of the opportunity for ECMO treatment. CRMC is home to the only ECMO treatment program for adults in the Central Valley.

ECMO in short, takes over heart and lung functions by removing blood, and putting oxygen in it, and putting it back in the body, bypassing the lungs and allowing them to recover. 
Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care with UCSF Fresno was on the ECMO team that treated Selling. 

“We only offer ECMO when someone is relatively young, healthy, and have a good chance to come through it okay because it’s a very intense therapy,” said Dr. Ives Tallman.

Selling was determined to fight the virus when she arrived at the hospital. Not just for her life, but for her twin girls on the way.

“One of the nurses came in and said you make the call; you know what you are capable of. So if you think you need to be on a ventilator you have to make that call.

It took five minutes and I said just do it. And that’s pretty much the last thing I remember,” said Selling.

Her next memory is waking up and seeing her husband, 25 days later.
“First, I asked what day it is, and he said it, and I said oh, I missed Christmas! And he was like yep, you missed Christmas!” said Selling.

Despite a missed holiday, three weeks on a ventilator, and 8 days of ECMO, Dallas, and the twins are on the mend. She said her husband was her rock throughout the journey, documenting her daily progress for her to look back on.

“He has to make decisions when I couldn’t. Really hard ones. I mean it takes a lot of strength because he was deciding for three of us,” said Selling.

“She has an amazing spirit, she was actually cracking jokes in the ambulance on the way here so she is unbelievably strong, and I think that helped her get through this,” said Dr. Ives Tallman.

Selling still has a tough recovery ahead but is planning to return to CRMC in April to deliver her twins, named Harvey and Hayes.

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