11:50 AM PDT, September 24, 2021
A Texas father died while his family searched for a potentially live-saving ECMO machine.
Reed Hickson, a father of 12, contracted COVID-19 a month ago and had been in critical condition in the ICU after two visits to the hospital within 20 days of testing positive.
According to KTBX, the family declined to share Hickson’s vaccination status.
“He stayed stable for a couple of days and then he was starting to steadily decline. We had, I cannot tell you how many people trying to save his life and trying to get an ECMO machine, a hospital that had a bed with one,” she told KTBX.
An ECMO machine is a life-support machine that functions as a person’s heart and lungs.
Dr. Andy Wilson, a friend of the Hickson’s, told the outlet that he and the family included Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma and Florida in their search for the machine.
“When you see it up close, a patient you’re caring for but even more so a family member, a friend, it changes your life.” Wilson said.
Because ECMO machines require health care workers that are specially trained, not all hospitals are equipped to carry them, according to McClatchy News.
His wife, Gina Robnett Hickson, made a public call for help on social media, sharing that her husband needed a hospital bed with an ECMO machine.
Unfortunately the call was not answered in time, as the next day, Hickson passed from COVID-19 related complications.
“My little brother Reed was called home last night, leaving behind a legacy of true love and greatness, his family of 12 beautiful children and his magnificent soul mate,” Samuel Hickson, the late Hickson’s brother, said in a Facebook post.
“The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was to come home and tell my babies that their daddy wasn’t coming home,” the wife said to KBTX.
“I have to say my compassion and understanding is to a whole new level and honestly my compassion for the doctors and nurses that are on the front lines dealing with this day in and day out around the clock.”
The family has a GoFundMe to assist in medical expenses and support for the family’s financial loss, which has currently raised a little over half of their goal of $100,000.