CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Levine Children’s Hospital celebrated the world-wide recognition of one of its most critical life-saving tools on Friday afternoon.

The special medical staff celebrated by reuniting with the survivors of the intensive treatment.

Among the survivors in attendance was 19-year old Kinsey Morgan, who if not for the care of the team at Levine, would not have been there.

“I love and hate the machine,” Morgan said. Love because it saved her life, hate because of the trauma it represents.

Formally known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), it’s the machine that kept Morgan alive.

“It is life support on steroids,” Kristine Morgan said. “These people have come from the very brink of death, and back. And that is something to celebrate.”

ECMO basically takes over the work of the patient’s sick lungs or heart. It extracts their blood, oxygenates it and puts it back.

“We’re taking care of patients that may not have survived even just three years ago,” Kelly Philbeck R.N. said. “The technology we have continues to evolve.”

Levine is one of 44 centers in the world that earned a gold level award for excellence in life support. ECMO is the science behind the award, but there’s also the relationships forged between patient and caretaker.

“To see the people that stood with us, cried with us, made meals for us, so many things. It’s just so wonderful to wrap our arms around them again and say thank you,” Kristine Morgan said.

14 years old when ECMO saved her life, Kinsey is now a first-year college student with plans to become a digital artist. She hopes her story of survival can give hope to others who need it.

“Being a survivor to me is just respecting what other people do for you, and making sure that you give back to them,” Morgan said. “So they know that you made it through, and other people can as well.”