Donor Spotlight: Segal Family’s Philanthropy Inspired By Son’s Saved Life

When he was just one year old, Anderson Segal’s life was saved at MercyOne Children’s Hospital by an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, an advanced respiratory support machine that oxygenates and circulates blood and requires a specialized medical team to operate.

In 2016, Anderson caught a respiratory syncytial virus infection that worsened and was in critical care when he was transferred to MercyOne Children’s Hospital, Central Iowa’s only hospital with a neonatal and pediatric ECMO program. He utilized the machine for 14 days so his damaged lung could heal and deliver oxygen to his brain and other organs, thereby avoiding permanent damage. Through Anderson’s bravery and the remarkable care of the ECMO medical team — led by David Hockmuth, M.D. — he made a full recovery. Anderson’s life was saved.

In celebration of his fourth birthday last month, Anderson’s parents wanted to make a gift to benefit the ECMO program. When they discovered that they could provide multi-year funding for a much-needed Echocardiography (ECHO) machine probe, which is utilized by each ECMO patient, they jumped at the opportunity.

“We understand the critical need and are happy to make this gift to help kids just like Anderson make a full recovery. Through this gift, we celebrate Anderson’s life,” said Ashley Segal, Anderson’s mom.

The ECHO machine uses waves that create pictures of the heart’s chambers, veins, blood vessels and valves. Each patient receives an ECHO scan prior to being placed on ECMO to help determine the cause of respiratory failure.

“We are so happy that Anderson is a healthy and vibrant boy. Our team worked hard to get him well, and we are excited to continue to watch him grow and thrive,” said Hockmuth.

“The Segals’ generosity is inspiring and will help us treat — and ultimately help save — additional lives.” 

If you are inspired by Anderson’s story and wish to make a gift in support of the lifesaving ECMO program, please contact MercyOne Des Moines Foundation Senior Director Of Development Sophia S. Ahmad at sahmad@mercydesmoines.org or 515-643-8035.

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