HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — A Port St. Lucie woman described as a "medical unicorn" by medical personnel, reunited Wednesday with cardiac teams at a Hollywood hospital who saved her life from a severe case of COVID-19.
Melissa Stagg, along with her husband, David, met the medical personnel at Memorial Regional Hospital.
"Without all of you, I would not be here today," Melissa told a team of at least a dozen doctors, nurses and caregivers from Memorial. "You were by my bedside 24/7 making sure I had the best possible care and I'm very grateful."
Stagg, 43 at the time, tested positive for coronavirus in December 2021 as the Delta variant was spreading nationwide.
She was transported from a Port St. Lucie Hospital to Hollywood hospital. Medical personnel from Hollywood connected her there to ECMO, an acronym for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The machine replaces the functions of the damaged organs.
She then was taken to the Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute where she was on the machine for 65 days.
She returned home on Mother’s Day 2022.
"This is just a phenomenal story," Dr. Lance Cohen, who is the medical director of the ECHMO program, said at the gathering. "Through COVID we had so many tough stories, so many sad stories. It was so wonderful to have this celebration of life and this wonderful story to tell."
Many of the clinicians hadn’t seen her since the worst days of her medical ordeal.
In Florida, 86,294 people have died from COVID-19, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.