AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Laura and Dalton Langston will welcome their new baby, Vera, home soon. The family leaves Children’s Hospital of Georgia with a new lease on life after earth shattering news right after delivery.
“When she was born she just wasn’t breathing right,” Laura said alongside her husband at Children’s Hospital of Georgia.
It was a perfect pregnancy. A full term birth and what Laura said her obstetrician called a textbook delivery. But right away doctors learned Vera was not well. She went to her Columbia, South Carolina area hospital’s special care unit and later, a neonatal ICU there. But that facility was tapped out of resources to help the newborn. Doctors shared more devastating news.
Laura said about the doctors conversation with them, “She’s really, really sick. She’s in critical condition and the only chance we believe she has for survival is if she can get on a treatment called ECMO.”
ECMO or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is a child’s form of life support. And the only place to get it locally is at Children’s Hospital of Georgia.
We spoke with Dr. Brian Stansfield, a neonatologist with Children’s Hospital of Georgia.
He said of the device, “The blood is removed from the body, it’s circulated by an artificial heart and oxygen is placed into the blood through an artificial lung then put back into the body.”
Dr. Brian Stansfield said babies like Vera referred for ECMO are typically in a life or death situation. The machine helps their organs rest. They normally have a diagnosis of congenital heart disease or in Vera’s case, pulmonary hypertension. Through prayer they trusted the team at AU and with confidence that team delivered.
“Almost every day we’ve heard good news, good progress. She was on ECMO almost four days,” Dalton Langston said of his daughter’s care.
Dr. Stansfield said on average, 15 babies need ECMO a year and attributes not just the talented medical staff, but also generous donors to their survival.
“Connie and Andy Jones donated an ECMO circuit to Children’s Hospital of Georgia just a few months ago. Vera represented our fourth patient on ECMO at the time she was cannulated,” he explained. “That could not have been done without that circuit being donated to us. Just six months ago, we might have had to think differently about Vera.”
Though in a crisis and very fragile, needing as many as 17 medical professionals in the room, Vera gets to return to home with her parents, older sibling, and pets.
The family added that during their child’s time at Children’s Hospital of Georgia, they were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Augusta and see the baby 24-7.