A 37-year-old mother of three from Katzrin was saved from death after suffering a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting.

She was treated at Poriya Medical Center near Tiberias by a team from Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center and attached to an Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which allows the heart and lungs to rest while blood is pumped and oxygen sent through blood vessels.

The woman, Orly Goren, is now recuperating. She had been unaware that she was so allergic to bee stings and quickly went into anaphylactic shock following the incident. She managed to reach the nearest health clinic, but even though she was given adrenalin, her condition deteriorated and she was rushed to Poriya.

Doctors found that as a result of the allergic reaction her heart muscle had weakened and began to collapse as if she had suffered a major heart attack.

Her husband, Aviram, was told she was in danger.

Poriya doctors contacted Rambam’s cardiothoracic surgery department headed by Prof. Gil Bolotin to ask for a team to bring its ECMO machine and attach it to Goren.

Unit head Dr. Zvi Adler and Rami Heizler, an ECMO technician, rushed to Poriya. Not every hospital has such a device, as conditions in which it is needed – for extended periods – are rare. She was then transferred to Rambam for continued care.

Her heart showed improvement by Shabbat, and on Sunday she was disconnected from the ECMO. She is recovering and can communicate with staff and family. Adler said that the cooperation between the hospitals made it possible to treat her successfully and that her heart will regain its normal strength.

Prof. Eduardo Shahar, acting head of the Clinical Immunology, Allergy and Aids Institute at Rambam, said that bees, hornets and related insects that sting, can trigger a severe allergic reaction in between 1 and 3 percent of the population, and is more dangerous in adults than in children. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, itchiness, faintness and breathing difficulties. In some cases they prove fatal.

People who know they are allergic to stings can undergo a series of injections over a period of five years to inure their bodies to toxins. Initially, there are weekly shots for five months, and then once every six months. Anyone who suspects an allergy to insect bites should be examined; if a severe allergy is confirmed, go to a specialist and carry an Epipen with adrenalin everywhere to alleviate symptoms immediately.

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