Kansas City,
12:06 PM

CNN: The 16-year-old girl who walks and eats tacos while on life support

By Jacqueline Howard

Zei Uwadia was the girl next door who would get lost in a good book, took quiet hikes in nature and preferred being alone in her room to socializing at another teen party.

With her determined spirit and independent attitude, the 16-year-old student at North High School in Wichita, Kansas, was on track to graduate early and pursue a career in dermatology.

But suddenly, in late October, she felt herself gasping for air. With each passing day, she had more difficulty breathing. Her body weakened, and her lungs started to fail. No one knew why.

In November, the otherwise healthy teen was placed on life support in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

Now, more than 130 days later, Zei's determination and independence have helped her achieve something only a few patients before her could: She has walked while on life support.

Despite being tethered to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, machine that is helping her breathe and keeping her alive, Zei has been determined to take every step possible to regain her lung function and strength, starting with walking.


Read the full article via CNN

Learn more about the services offered through the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children's Mercy.