Machine helps babies breathe - FOX 13 News

Machine helps babies breathe

Posted: Updated: 07 May 2012, 10:35 PM EDT
ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

The Cartees couldn't wait to welcome their beautiful baby boy.

Dustin Cartee explained the fear as they were, "In the car, on the way up, just praying and praying."

They had reason to be nervous. Tiffani Cartee suffered two miscarriages before little Ryder was born. Shortly after his birth, Ryder's right lung collapsed and he developed pulmonary hypertension.

"That was terrible. It was very hard to be separated from him in the hospital, and when I had the two other children at home, so I was separated a few days, I didn't stay up night here, so that was hard too," said Tiffani.

Doctors at All Children's Hospital used a life support system called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO. They hoped it would do the breathing for Ryder so he could survive.

"Ryder would be considered one of the sickest children we take care of at All Children's Hospital," Dr. Michelle Smith said.

Just a short time later, there was living proof the machine worked.

"I could not believe after two weeks, from his therapy, he was able to go home. I have not seen that since I've been taking care of patients on ECMO therapy," said Jade Hanson, one of Ryder's nurses.

The doctors and nurses revel at his recovery.

"Without ECMO, Ryder would not have survived," Dr. Smith said.

His mom agreed.

"He's a normal baby. There's absolutely no repercussions whatsoever, and I have to look at his scar just to remind me that this did happen."

A small reminder that thanks to a special team and innovative machine, they finally got the gift they'd been waiting for.

"Every night we were away from him, it was incomplete and now we're here, we're together and we're complete."

Machines like the ECMO are made possible thanks to donations from the Children's Miracle Network, which helps almost 200 hospitals across the country.

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