MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Victoria Bermudez, as many other six-year-old girls, loves to dress up as a princess, dance ballet and do gymnastics—but in February, her life turned upside down.
Victoria came down with a low-grade fever so her mother Judith Ferrer did what any parent would do—gave her medication.
Several days later, however, her fever persisted and she developed a cough and was having trouble breathing.
Ferrer took her six-year-old to the urgent care where she was diagnosed with a severe case of influenza and strep. The doctor at the urgent care called 9-1-1 and she was rushed to a nearby emergency room.
It was at the hospital where Victoria took a turn for the worse.
“She was close to dying as a little girl can be. Her body went into septic shock, low blood pressure, unable to get oxygen to her lungs and she had three cardiac arrests” said Dr. Barry Gelman from UM/Holtz Children’s Hospital.
Victoria’s only chance at life was to receive ECMO treatment a machine that takes over your lungs so the organs can recover.
Victoria was transferred to Holtz Children’s Hospital as it is one of the few hospitals that offer the treatment. She was taken straight in to the pediatric intensive care unit.
Within hours Victoria was placed on ECMO, one of a handful of children and premature babies who receive the treatment each year at Holtz Children’s Hospital.
“I realized my prayers were answered,” said Victoria’s mom.
For nearly two months, Victoria remained at the hospital. For 17 of those days, she was undergoing the ECMO treatment. Her body underwent trauma and she required a ventilator to breath and a feeding tube for nutrition.
Because Victoria was bed-ridden for so long, she needed speech and occupational therapy to help her walk, regain her strength, feed herself and talk.
Victoria is slowly recovering; she is able to walk, talk and do many of the things she loved doing.
“Considering how sick she was looking at her here today yes, it is a miracle and we are all thrilled,” said Dr. Gelman.
Victoria is expected to be discharged on Thursday but must continue with outpatient rehab. Their goal is to have her fully recovered by August so she can attend school.
“The medical care at Holtz has been out of this world they are my angels,” said Ferrer.