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Aussie woman's scary brush with death after cold-like symptoms

The Queensland woman was unable to breathe on her own after contracting a deadly infection.

A young woman has detailed her terrifying brush with death after a deadly infection took over her body and left her in hospital on life support.

Amelia McNeil, 20, took herself to the Gold Coast Hospital for antibiotics six months ago after experiencing some cold-like symptoms, but that night was put into an induced coma where she remained for five weeks.

The Queensland student suffered from a severe case of Influenza A, and later developed pneumonia and a "very dangerous" bacterial lung infection which was "eating away at [her] lungs". This meant she was struggling to breathe and her only chance of survival was having access to a life support machine, ECMO, which temporarily stepped in as her heart and lungs.

Amelia McNeil in hospital on life support with sister.
Amelia McNeil, 20, spent five weeks in hospital with influenza A. Source: 9News/GoFundMe

"It's quite an intimidating thing [to see] but I don't think I would be here today if it wasn't for that machine, so I'm forever grateful to have had the opportunity to be on there," McNeil told 9news this week.

Young woman 'wasn't improving', needed life-support

On a GoFundMe page at the time, McNeill's sister Bri explained that her sibling "wasn't improving" so doctors decided to use the machine — which was bought using donations to the hospital. "It essentially stops her lungs from breathing and pumps blood through her body for her to rest her lungs," she explained, admitting the entire journey was "extremely scary for Amelia and her family".

ECMO life support machine.
The life-support machine ECMO, which temporarily stepped in as her heart and lungs, was credited for saving her life. Source: 7News

Now, the family is encouraging more donations to the hospital foundation which will go toward training staff on how to use the machine accurately. Russel Ousley, Gold Coast Hospital Foundation CEO, said the cutting-edge equipment provides patients with a "special" level of care they "can't get any other way".

"Nobody ever wants to be at the hospital, but your gift to us can be to help those people have the best possible experience they can while they're here," he said.

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