Three-year-old Seshan was diagnosed with a hole in the diaphragm (congenital diaphragmatic hernia) while in the womb. When he was born, his lungs were not able to function properly. With inadequate oxygen levels in his blood, he needed life support.

Under the close care of the KKH Paediatric and Neonatal ECMO Programme team, Seshan was given ECMO (extracorporeal machine oxygenation) support, which temporarily takes over the patient’s heart and lung function.

After 172 days of intensive care, Seshan regained his lung function and made a full recovery with no medical complications. Today, Seshan is a happy, healthy and playful toddler. His parents recount the experience:

Seshan’s parents: Braving the storms and fighting every battle

“ECMO was no ordinary machine – it was huge, it was loud and we could see his blood flowing through huge tubes from his tiny neck. When our son was on ECMO, we were torn between feeling helpless and feeling assured that ECMO was giving him a chance to recover.

“There were countless frightful moments, however, one memory sticks out like a thorn – it was the day Seshan was scheduled to have his surgery while being on ECMO. It was no easy feat watching the entire team at the KKH Children’s Intensive Care Unit (CICU) move him and the ECMO machine together, back and forth from the operating theatre. Each of their steps were calculated and resembled a symphony orchestra – coordinated and graceful.

“We were ecstatic when he returned back to his bed after the surgery. Not only because the surgery was a success, but we could see that one wrong move while transporting him on ECMO could have had devastating consequences to our little one.

“The 172 days of being in CICU and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, braving the storms and fighting every battle with our son have taught us many lessons. To other parents, the path may be varied but one thing is common – HOPE. The present might be challenging and the future may seem uncertain but you have the strength within you to overcome this, and you are not alone!”

Click here to read more about the KKH Paediatric and Neonatal ECMO Programme.