Henry Ford Health performs Michigan’s first COVID-linked double lung transplant

‘I was getting sick so fast,’ Jackie Dennis said

Henry Ford Health preforms Michigan's first COVID-linked double lung transplant

DETROIT – Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital performed the first double lung transplant in Michigan that was linked to COVID-19.

“Things were pretty foggy. I was getting sick so fast,” Jackie Dennis said.

Special education teacher Jackie Dennis was diagnosed with COVID in November of last year.

“She went there with typical COVID symptoms. She had a cough, fever, shortness of breath, headache and nausea,” Dr. Lisa Allenspach said.

Dennis was also pregnant. She gave birth to a little girl she named Mia Rose. After giving birth, COVID quickly took over her lungs and body and made it difficult for her to breathe.

Doctors put Dennis on a breathing machine.

“ECMO is a heart-lung machine that we use to provide oxygen to the blood in hopes of the lung to recover after a bad infection like COVID,” Dr. Victor Coba said.

Doctors said Dennis needed a double lung transplant. She underwent the transplant at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit on Jan. 16. That was just seven weeks after her daughter was born.

“I feel amazing. I feel pretty normal. I’m building strength, walking around. Things are a little hard, maybe taking too many steps going up and down the stairs. Generally speaking, I can do everything I want to besides picking up Mia just yet,” Dennis said.

Dennis said she’s grateful for friends and family. She wants to thank the family who lost a loved one to save her life.

“If they ever wanted to meet us, or hear anything about us. I would totally be open to that. I would tell them I’m so sorry. But I’m very grateful,” Dennis said.

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