Metro Detroit woman with COVID-19 gives beginning, undergoes double lung transplant at Henry Ford Hospital
A suburban Detroit woman infected with COVID-19 gave birth and underwent a double lung transplant a few weeks later to save her life, doctors said Wednesday.
Two months after the transplant, Jackie Dennis, a teacher in New Boston, said she was fine. She and the Henry Ford Health System medical team shared their remarkable story with 4 month old Mia Rose in her arms.
“I actually feel pretty normal,” said the 31-year-old Wyandotte resident. “Things are still a bit difficult, maybe we take too many steps, going up and down the stairs. But in general I can do almost anything I want, except pick Mia up.”
Dennis was 36 weeks pregnant on November 20 when she went to the emergency room with a cough, headache, and difficulty breathing. She tested positive for the coronavirus and was hospitalized.
Doctors decided to induce labor a week later, and Mia was born. Dennis developed pneumonia and her lungs deteriorated to the point where a ventilator was required. She was then placed on another special breathing apparatus, but her lungs did not improve.
“There really aren’t any words to say, are there?” said Dennis’ husband Ricky. “Your wife is fighting for her life and you have a new baby at home. It was tough.”
A double lung transplant was performed on January 16.
“Her lungs were completely destroyed by this inflammatory response to the virus and she would not have been alive without a transplant,” said Dr. Lisa Allenspach, Medical Director of the Henry Ford Lung Transplant Program in Detroit.
“Your situation was probably as serious as the one we’re transplanting.”
The doctor said the number of COVID 19-related lung transplants in the United States was low
“We expect that she can work again to do things she wants to do. … Long-term survival is really very, very possible and likely,” said Allenspach.