As a public service, we republish a post by Ho Ching on 1 Jan 2022 on her Facebook page. She explains how a heart lung machine saved the life of an infected unvaccinated pregnant woman, and urges pregnanat women to get vaccinated. The case she refers to is: Unvaccinated woman gets Covid-19 twice while pregnant, has close brush with death
Ever heard of a heart lung machine?
An ECMO is a smaller version of a heart lung machine to help a patient get oxygen when the lungs are completely flooded or damaged.
Being on an ECMO means the worst has happened, and the ICU ventilators could no longer do the job of providing oxygen through the lungs.
Instead, blood is drawn out into the ECMO, so that carbon dioxide is extracted, and oxygen is added, before the oxygenated blood is pumped back to the body. Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenator - extra corporeal meaning outside the body; membrane allow the blood to flow through with carbon dioxide extracted and oxygen added across the membrane.
The ECMO takes over the job of pumping blood from the heart, and it takes over the job of the lungs for extracting carbon dioxide from the blood and adding oxygen to the blood.
Temasek Foundation has donated some ECMO in the region last year, along with various life saving oxygen equipment from basic oxygen concentrators to high flow oxygen concentrators, from basic ventilators for regional community hospitals to top end ventilators for major hospitals.
For one simple reason - most tests and treatments can wait, but we die from lack of oxygen within minutes. Hence, the focus on equipment to provide oxygen and the oximeters to help check oxygen levels.
Madam Yvonne Khoo was lucky - lucky that she had the presence of mind to check her oxygen levels, though she probably wasn’t checking daily bcos her oxygen level had already dropped to a dangerous 80% when she found out.
Do use the oximeter regularly, at least once a day, if you tested positive or are a close contact.
One of the most dangerous effects of covid infection is the silent pneumonia, when we don’t feel breathless during the early stage of kung damage. By the time we feel breathless, our lungs would have been shot to bits and other vital organs are also starting to be damaged or already damaged.
Please do vaccinate - whether we plan to get pregnant, whether we are in the middle of pregnancy, or whether we are breast feeding.
Please please vaccinate for the sake of baby and mum.
Unvaccinated pregnant women with Delta covid has 4 times higher risk of a stillborn dead baby, than uninfected women.
Vaccination not only trains the body to make antibodies to fight the covid. Vaccination enables the mum to pass her antibodies to protect the baby during pregnancy and the new born baby for a few months after birth.
Vaccination also helps pass the antibodies to the baby through the mother’s milk for added protection beyond the first few months.
Keep safe for mums and babies.
Ho Ching was CEO of Temasek Holdings for 17 years and is the spouse of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. She posts frequently on her Facebook page here.