A special heart and lung machine known as an ECMO saved the life of a 37-year-old mother of three from the Golan Heights last Thursday after she was stung by a bee.
Orly Goren, who was apparently unaware that she is allergic to bee venom, was stung when she was inside her car. She developed an acute allergic reaction and symptoms appeared quickly. She went to a doctor who treated her with adrenaline, but her condition deteriorated and she collapsed, and she was taken to Tverya's Poria Hospital, where doctors found that beside the original allergic reaction, she had gone into cardiogenic shock and her heart had begun to collapse.
Doctors even informed her husband, Aviram, that she may die.
Poria's staff decided to contact Rambam Hospital's heart surgery department, and issued an emergency request for its ECMO device, along with the staff who operate it, which is headed by Dr. Tzvi Adler and Rami Heisler. There are only a handful of such machines – which take over for non-functioning hearts and lungs – in Israel.
The ECMO arrived and Goren was connected to it. Then, under anesthesia and artificial respiration, she was transferred to Rambam. For the next 48 hours she was connected to the ECMO and under constant supervision, in the heart surgery ward. Her tests eventually began showing better results, and she was taken off the machine. She is communicating with her surroundings and has even gotten off her bed.
According to Dr. Adler, her heart is expected to recover fully.
While Goren's extreme reaction to the bee sting was unusual, Rambam's Prof. Eduardo Shahar warned against taking the risk lightly. People who suspect that they may be allergic to bee venom must be tested promptly, he said.