COVID-19, pneumonia, heart failure & a newborn - a birthday like no other!

Thursday, December 2, 2021
Medical Marvels: Covid ECMO Birth
WABC-TV is proud to take you inside NewYork-Presbyterian for a look at some extraordinary stories that we call Medical Marvels.

NEW YORK -- Queens resident Primkumarie Bahadur was pregnant and feeling very ill. She tested positive for COVID-19 which soon developed into severe COVID-19 pneumonia and went by ambulance to a hospital close to her home. Her condition declined rapidly and she started going into heart failure. Primkumarie was too unstable to transport without ECMO, so the hospital called the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) team to see if she would be a candidate for transfer. NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia promptly deployed their award-winning and nationally recognized ECMO team, including a surgeon, surgical fellow, perfusionist and critical care paramedics.

The team stabilized the patient on ECMO and transported her to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia's medical ICU - where Purnema Madahar, MD, MS, the ECMO attending on call, received Primkumarie upon arrival.

ECMO removes blood from your veins, pumps it outside the body (extracorporeal), removes carbon dioxide, adds oxygen (oxygenation), and returns it to your body, thus taking some of the workload off the patient's heart and lungs. According to Jennifer Haythe, MD, Director of Cardio-Obstetrics at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, "It was hard to determine whether she developed a heart failure syndrome due to COVID, due to her pregnancy, or due to profound cardiogenic shock which she was in."

Meanwhile, given that Primkumarie was pregnant, Leslie Moroz, MD, Director of the Mothers Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia was consulted and it was determined that a Caesarean section was needed to save the baby.

According to Dr. Madahar, "Primkumarie's case is truly remarkable - being pregnant, then having a severe case of COVID-19 requiring ECMO, and experiencing heart failure and recovering from that, it's just truly a miracle."

Primkumarie, who was unconscious for most of her time at the hospital, is thankful for all that was done.

"If it weren't for NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia," she says, "I wouldn't have a second chance with my newborn. He was born on my birthday!"

WABC-TV is proud to have taken you inside NewYork-Presbyterian for a look at some extraordinary stories that we call Medical Marvels. It's WABC's Emmy-nominated digital series exclusive to

Click here for more information on these doctors:

Purnema Madahar, MD, MS, Assistant Director of the Medical ICUs, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia

Jennifer Haythe, MD, Director of Cardio Obstetrics, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia

Leslie Moroz, MD, Director of The Mothers Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia