Madera woman with COVID-19 needs lung transplant to survive

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Madera woman is clinging to her life after being admitted to the ICU with COVID-19.

When Andrew Myers and his fiance, 29-year-old Brittany Romena spent the New Year's weekend in Las Vegas, they never imagined a month later, Brittany would end up with a life-threatening case of COVID-19.

She is now hooked up to a ventilator in an induced coma -- with Andrew by her side in the ICU.

"If you imagine that, you would definitely take the precautions to avoid it from happening," said Andrew.

They both started feeling sick the first week of January. Andrew got better, but Brittany's breathing got worse and eventually had to be taken by ambulance to Madera Community Hospital.

Her family says she did not get a COVID-19 vaccination. Brittany has coped with asthma her whole life, exacerbating her COVID symptoms.

"She had that underlying condition," said her mother, Kristina Chapa. "I just never thought it would get to this point."

Days after being admitted to MCH, Brittany was moved to the ICU.

"They thought that the ventilator would help her heal, but she developed acute respiratory distress syndrome," said Andrew. "That ultimately led to pulmonary fibrosis."

Brittany has severe scar tissue on both lungs that doctors deemed irreversible. The only option for her is a double-lung transplant.

"It's a long process. The medical system is so strained right nowhere," said Andrew. "Even though she is very ill, she is terminal right now. It's still going to take some time."

Her family is now fighting to get her name on a transplant list, a process that they're familiar with. Brittany's great-uncle has undergone a double-lung transplant too.

"He said it's a long, rocky, painful road ahead of her, but she can do it," said Kristina. "She is a strong woman."

Right now, the family is waiting to hear from hospitals in the Bay Area, San Diego and LA whether or not Brittany qualifies to make it on the list for a miracle match.

In the meantime, they are asking people for prayer and to remember, two years into this pandemic, patients like Brittany are still clinging onto their lives.

"For some people to take things seriously, it has to hit you close to home," said Andrew. "It's hit us pretty close to home right now. It hit my home."

Brittany's family has started a GoFundMe to help with the expenses of transporting her to the medical facility that will be able to facilitate a transplant.
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