A 29-year-old Texas woman is finally back in her home state after spending a month in an Oregon ICU battling COVID-19 while in a coma.
Miranda Reich was on a West Coast road trip with four other family members, including her husband and his grandparents, to visit more family in Oregon in July. But partway through the trip, all five of them started to feel sick. They headed straight to Rosenburg, where they all trip tested positive for COVID-19, WFAA reported. Miranda’s case was by far the worst, and she was quickly admitted to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland for treatment.
She slipped into a coma and needed an ECMO machine to help circulate and oxygenate her blood. Her family wasn’t able to visit her in the ICU due to COVID-19 restrictions, and at one point, they were told to not expect Reich to survive, WFAA, a Dallas TV station, reported.
After spending more than a month in the ICU, Reich was finally lucid enough to ask her doctors what had happened to her.
“She told me about the ECMO, about it being my last shot, how I was borderline dead without being called dead,” Reich told KGW in Portland.
One of her relatives, Stacy Pope Reich, wrote on Facebook that in addition to being on the ECMO machine, Miranda was also put on antibiotics and was battling a blood infection during her time in the ICU.
By chance, KGW documented a look into those frightening hours in Reich’s life while filming a special at the same hospital about how Oregon ICUs were completely overwhelmed by the virus.
The special included scenes of a woman in her 20s battling the COVID-19. She was “incoherent” and “hooked up to many tubes of different sizes” that were all connected to the ECMO, regarded as “the highest form of a life-support” the hospital could provide, KGW reported.
“In the corner of the young woman’s room sit brightly-colored stuffed animals from loved ones who can’t be there themselves,” the special said.
The special kept all of the patients anonymous, but Reich quickly recognized herself — and the stuffed animals — in it when she watched the segment months later, WFAA reported.
Reich called KGW, letting them know that she had survived — even though all signs pointed to the high probability that she wouldn’t.
“I was like, ‘maybe they need to know that somebody made it, that somebody out of the ICU actually did make it and is alive,” “I don’t want to be known as the heartbreaking case of a young woman who was unvaccinated and covered in tubes.”
Reich is recovering with family in Hamilton, Texas, and has since been vaccinated, WFAA reported. She hopes to return to her home in Abilene soon.
Reich contracted the virus around the same time as when the U.S. was struggling intensely with a summer COVID-19 surge, spurred by the spread of the highly-transmissible delta variant. In July, COVID-19 cases surged in at least 46 states, CNN reported.
Over 720,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. so far, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.