Sydni Rodabaugh’s mother, Sabrina, vividly remembers the harrowing events that led her daughter to Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center.
The diagnosis of Legionnaires, a severe lung infection, plunged Sydni into a medically induced coma and her right lung was clogged with mucus. Initially admitted to a hospital outside Toledo, Sydni’s condition worsened, necessitating a LifeFlight air ambulance trip to St. Vincent Medical Center.
The situation was dire, and ECMO became her lifeline.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used to oxygenate the blood outside the body. Although the technology has been available for decades, the specialized program is not widespread. ECMO involves the appropriate equipment and a highly specialized team trained to monitor the treatment 24 hours a day.
Sydni was specifically transferred to St. Vincent Medical Center due to the availability of ECMO and access to high-quality care.
As Sydni lay sedated, uncertainty and fear gripped her family, recalled Sabrina. Yet, our ministry’s health care providers stood as beacons of support. Every member of the team, from nurses and physicians to environmental services and respiratory techs, treated the Rodabaugh family as if they were their own, providing unwavering comfort and compassion.
Sydni’s nickname, “Squid,” even inspired a hashtag, proudly declaring #SquidStrong.
Special gestures added personal touches to Sydni’s care. In particular, Sydni remembers several of her care team members by name, including Erin Mensing, Jamie Hilyard, Michelle Morely and Katrina Forbes.
Whether it be a care bag Michelle brought to her or the time when Michelle painted her toenails, it was the special touches that made the difficult experience more bearable. Supported by ECMO for seven days, Sydni’s recovery was marked by the dedication of her care team.
“We have never been treated so well by any medical team,” Sabrina says gratefully and emphasized the exceptional care that the ICU team provided. “We felt informed and connected throughout Sydni’s illness. The care team turned the worst experience into an exceptional one.”
“Sydni is a fighter, and it was not only a pleasure to take care of her, but also to build a relationship with her and her family,” Erin Mensing notes. “Once you’re part of our team, you’re always a part of our team. #SQUIDSTRONG!”
“It was a pleasure taking care of Sydni and it brings my heart great joy to be a part of #SQUIDSTRONG,” Michelle Morley adds. “Our Squid is such a fighter and with the help of ECMO has the rest of her young life ahead of her.”
Now, Sydni embraces life with newfound appreciation.
“I am alive, so I feel like I have my whole life ahead of me,” she shares.
Her positive outlook shines through in her eagerness to resume work and rebuild her strength. No longer taking the seemingly small things for granted, like walking and writing, she revels in life’s simplicity.
Reflecting on their experience, Sabrina sends a heartfelt message: “I couldn’t have asked for better care for my daughter. They literally saved her life.”
St. Vincent Medical Center became a home away from home for Sydni and her family, where love and passion radiated from every care team member.
“From the first day I met Sydni and her family, the most important thing I remember is her mother saying to me, ‘please save my daughter,’ and as a team that is all we ever need to hear,” Katrina Forbes, our ECMO manager and coordinator, shares. “Sydni unfortunately was faced with a battle many have never heard of and hopefully will never encounter themselves. It was in the worst times of this family’s life that I was blessed to be able to be there for, not only Sydni, our ECMO Squid, but also her amazing family.”
Katrina adds, “to see Sydni progress and fight so hard to recover is a miraculous event in itself, but to see her walk out those doors and go home from the hospital was nothing short of a miracle.”
And to Sydni, Katrina sent a heartfelt message to the young lady who won a hard-fought battle within the hospital walls.
“Sydni, you are so strong, and I thank you and your family for allowing myself and the entire ECMO team to become such a huge part of your story and family. My heart is overflowing, and you will always be our ECMO Squid. I am so proud of you!”
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