About Kendra

Kendra Mann- O’Brien was 35 years old when she contracted the flu on or about March 1, 2012.  Three days later,  after a visit to Urgent Care,  Kendra discovered she had Type A influenza.  All her vitals were good –  some wheezing was noted but no x-ray was taken.  The next day,  Monday, March 5th, after speaking with her on the phone, I immediately picked her up and took her to the closest emergency room.  Kendra’s oxygen levels were dangerously low.  ER immediately called the Respiratory Department and worked to get her levels back up. It was soon decided to intubate her as she was breathing so hard and fast. She was placed in ICU and was somewhat coherent for three days. On the fourth day, a blood infection, or sepsis, invaded her body and her doctor was alarmed. Kendra’s condition worsened during the night and on Friday, March 9th, she was lifeflighted to St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri. Kendra had double pneumonia and her lungs were in such poor shape she was immediately placed on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). ECMO is used only after medicine and a breathing machine (ventilator) have failed.

The ECMO machine worked for Kendra’s heart and lungs. It is the same heart/lung machine used for open-heart surgery. Blood flows through the ECMO tubing where it receives oxygen from the machine’s lung. This happens until the heart and/or lungs are able to work on their own.

Kendra was on ECMO for approximately two weeks, after which time her lungs cleared up, but in the meantime, the sepsis in her blood had caused other problems, requiring the need for three separate surgeries on her stomach and intestines. After the 3rd surgery, on April 4, 2012, the family was told the heartbreaking news irrepairable damage had occurred and on the following day, April 5, 2012, she passed.

Kendra fought for her life, but God had other plans for her. We miss her terribly, but know she would want us to continue to live life to the fullest, while we’re waiting to join her in Heaven.