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Sarasota woman joins nursing profession after doctors saved her life

She developed MRSA pneumonia at 10 years old
Posted at 10:04 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 23:27:46-05

SARASOTA, Fla. — A Sarasota County woman joined the nursing profession after doctors saved her life nearly 15 years ago.

Hannah Ryan, 24, said she nearly died when she was 10 years old after developing MRSA pneumonia.

"My fingers turned blue and my lips turned blue so my parents took me back to the ER. They took another X-ray. I had full-blown pneumonia," said Ryan.

Ryan said she thought she had a cold, but became ill during a softball game.

She was transported from Sarasota to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

"They intubated me immediately and called All Children's transport team and they transferred me," said Ryan.

Ryan said she does not recall many of the details. She relied on her parents to tell her what happened.

"I was asleep for most of the time. They had me intubated and sedated and in a medically induced coma because I was on a lot of machines that basically kept me alive. My body needed to rest as much as it could," she said.

Dr. James Quintessenza, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, recalls the care Ryan needed to survive.

"She really had respiratory failure so much so her lungs were not allowing enough oxygen to be in her body and she required a mechanical support of what we call a VV ECMO to increase the amount of oxygen in her blood to let her survive long enough for her lungs to then recover," said Dr. Quintessenza.

Ryan said her personal tragedy inspired her to become a nurse.

"Up until this day, my parents still talk about all the nurses that took care of me and they can still name each nurse's first and last name and specific things that they did for me," said Ryan.

Ryan completed her residency at All Children's Hospital and worked next to doctors who saved her life.

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"There she is 15 years later as a staff nurse in ICU and this bright-eyed young nurse. She's going to make a great nurse provider in terms of being able to relate to patients and children," said Dr. Quintessenza.

Ryan suffers some side effects from her illness, but she is able to compete in CrossFit. She considers herself a healthy 24-year-old.

"My lungs are a little bit scared. I have a chronic cough and when I work out, I can work out the same amount as someone who hasn't had lung issues, but I won't be able to run as long as them," said Ryan.

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Currently, Ryan is a nurse in Sarasota.

"I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be a nurse and never have been a patient and not know how much it means to be taken care of by a nurse who really cares and pays attention to the little things as well," Ryan said.