A Chicago woman who became the first COVID-19 patient in the country to undergo a double lung transplant last month said she woke up a few days later, did not know about the operation and could not “recognize my body.”
28-year-old Mayra Ramirez spoke to the media with Brian Kuhns, 62, of Lake Zurich, Illinois, who followed her as the second coronavirus patient in the United States to undergo the procedure.
Ramirez participated in an operation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago on June 5 and did not wake up until a week later.
“I looked at myself and I couldn’t recognize my body,” she told reporters. “I did not have the cognitive ability to process what was happening. All I knew was that I wanted water. ”;
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Mayra Ramirez, a survivor of COVID-19 as a result of a lung transplant, spoke about her journey through a pandemic during her first press conference at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago on Thursday.
Ramirez, who has an autoimmune disease, stated before the closure of the coronavirus that she was otherwise independent and relatively healthy.
Ramirez said she could not recognize her family members in the pictures the nurses placed around her room.
“I was really upset because I thought it was a different family,” she added.
Ramirez, who suffers from autoimmune disease, was intubated shortly after he contracted coronavirus disease in April.
Shortly before he fell ill, she went to the hospital for three miles.
“I was told to hurry to change,” she said. “They asked me who would make medical decisions for me. That’s when I told them it would be my mother and eldest sister living in North Carolina.
“I only had a few minutes to contact them to know what was going on before I was intubated.”
Ramirez, who moved to Chicago from North Carolina in 2014 to become an assistant in 2014, says she is now slowly regaining strength.
Ramirez’s family launched the GoFundMe campaign to raise money for their medical expenses
Dr. Ankit Bharat, head of thoracic surgery and surgical director of a lung transplant program in Northwestern Medicine, said Ramirez, who was on a ventilator, had been fighting for six weeks, with the virus completely destroying her lungs.
Doctors would call with the news of Nohemi Romero, her mother in North Carolina.
Ramirez, who was sitting next to her mother during a press conference at the hospital, said her family had traveled to Chicago with the intention of saying goodbye.
“Fortunately, when they arrived, my mother and my two nurses, the medical team was able to stabilize me,” Ramirez said.
“The possibilities of lung transplantation have been explained and my mother agreed. And then I got a 10-hour lung transplant within 48 hours. “
Bharat calls Ramirez’s operation a “milestone” in the care of patients with severe COVID-19.
Brian Kuhns (pictured left on Thursday) 62 from Lake Zurich, Illinois, followed Ramirez as the second coronavirus patient in the United States to undergo surgery
“Lung transplantation is not for every patient with COVID-19, but offers some critically ill patients another chance to survive,” Bharat said. “Mayra and Brian are proof of that.”
Ramirez said he was slowly gaining strength, but said the suffering had taken a physical and mental toll.
“It’s hard to deal with,” she said. ‘All the time I was on [ventilator] I had many nightmares and sometimes it is difficult to distinguish reality from these nightmares. ‘
Chest operator Dr Rafael Garza Castillon said Northwestern is now considering surgery on other patients who have removed the virus and have no other significant organ failure.
“We are all learning together and sharing best practices. Lung transplantation is now part of caring for COVID-19,” Bharat said.
Ramirez, who is now home, said she feels much better, even though she is still working to restore strength and endurance. She said she knew there was a family that grieved her loved ones.
“It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I had the ability, you know, to think there’s a family that bothers their loved one,” Ramirez said.
“I have this person’s lungs and how lucky I was when I got her.”
Kuhns said he thought the virus was a scam until it banned it.
“This disease is not a joke,” he said. “It hit me like a lead blow to the head. I was completely healthy. This thing knocked me hard. “