A woman vacationing with family in the Cayman Islands averted tragedy after doctors at Health City Cayman Islands intervened in an unexpected and potentially fatal viral infection.

Surjeet Kaur traveled recently to visit her son, Simranjit Singh. She fell ill for five days with a viral illness. Primary care doctors initially found her organs to be functioning well, Health City reported. Her condition quickly deteriorated, however, and within 24 hours she was in critical condition.

A stomach virus had resulted in myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle caused by various infections or drug toxicity. Severe cases can cause heart failure and death.

Ms. Kaur was rushed to Health City by ambulance where she was hooked up to advanced life support technology called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. A Health City spokesperson said the East End hospital is the only medical center in the Caribbean region to offer ECMO life support.

The technology allowed Ms. Kaur’s heart to heal and recover by serving much of the heart’s function during treatment.

“During ECMO treatment, the patient’s heart continues to beat, but its work is made easier because the ECMO machine does much of the pumping,” a Health City statement explained.

By the time Ms. Kaur arrived for treatment, her blood pressure was dangerously low and her kidney and liver showed signs of failure. Without life support, doctors believe her heart would have failed.

Chief cardiac surgeon Binoy Chattuparambil said the life support technology allowed for less complicated and quicker treatment.

“She required very intense monitoring and treatment in the ICU for the next few days, but the heart slowly and steadily showed signs of improvement and she was taken off ECMO. An echocardiogram showed that the heart had recovered completely without any signs of damage. She went home with a strong and healthy heart and functional organs,” the doctor said.

Ms. Kaur’s son said he was relieved to witness his mother’s recovery.

“We have been away from our family back home, and [Health City employees] have come forward to be our family and treated us as a family member. I have never seen such compassion and hospitality anywhere in the world as I have seen at Health City,” Mr. Singh said.

Health City has treated eight critically ill patients using ECMO in two and a half years and reports a 90 percent survival rate, higher than the global average.


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