Andy Smith’s time was ticking.Unable to breathe on his own, doctors told his wife Megan that the ventilator was not strong enough for her husband’s lungs.“Getting the call that Saturday morning that he had 24 hours to live, I thought it was pretty bad, and here I am crying again,” his wife, Megan, said. “But he’s strong, he’s a fighter and I believed his journey wasn’t over yet.”A fight that was just beginning after Smith’s mom, who was at home in quarantine, watched a story we aired about Dr. Victor Van Berkel and his use of the extracorporeal membrane oxygen machine at UofL Health.“We end up putting a couple of big cannulas in someone’s veins, drawing the blood out of their body while the machine is oxygenating the body and the person’s blood to then return the blood back to them that is now oxygenated,” Dr. Van Berkel said when describing the oxygen machine.A prayer was answered for the Smith family. Typically, extracorporeal membrane oxygen machine recipients spend at least four weeks on the machine, but Megan says God had other plans.”I remember Dr. Van Berkel when he came off of the ECMO he called me and said I think we have a miracle, he’s coming off and it’s been for days,” she said.After that, Smith got to work on getting his health back after he was transferred to Frazier Rehab Center, where initially the 34-year-old could barely move his body and could only stand for 15 seconds at a time before his blood pressure shot through the roof.”Before I knew it, they had me up walking with a walker doing different physical therapy exercises to within two weeks, I could go home,” he said.

Andy Smith’s time was ticking.

Unable to breathe on his own, doctors told his wife Megan that the ventilator was not strong enough for her husband’s lungs.

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“Getting the call that Saturday morning that he had 24 hours to live, I thought it was pretty bad, and here I am crying again,” his wife, Megan, said. “But he’s strong, he’s a fighter and I believed his journey wasn’t over yet.”

A fight that was just beginning after Smith’s mom, who was at home in quarantine, watched a story we aired about Dr. Victor Van Berkel and his use of the extracorporeal membrane oxygen machine at UofL Health.

“We end up putting a couple of big cannulas in someone’s veins, drawing the blood out of their body while the machine is oxygenating the body and the person’s blood to then return the blood back to them that is now oxygenated,” Dr. Van Berkel said when describing the oxygen machine.

A prayer was answered for the Smith family. Typically, extracorporeal membrane oxygen machine recipients spend at least four weeks on the machine, but Megan says God had other plans.

“I remember Dr. Van Berkel when he came off of the ECMO he called me and said I think we have a miracle, he’s coming off and it’s been for days,” she said.

After that, Smith got to work on getting his health back after he was transferred to Frazier Rehab Center, where initially the 34-year-old could barely move his body and could only stand for 15 seconds at a time before his blood pressure shot through the roof.

“Before I knew it, they had me up walking with a walker doing different physical therapy exercises to within two weeks, I could go home,” he said.

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