Introduction: World Health Organization announced on April 2009 a public health emergency of international concern caused by swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) has been reported to be the most devastating complications of this pathogen. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenator (ECMO) therapy for patients with H1N1 related ARDS has been described once all other therapeutic options have been exhausted. Here, we report the case of a child (German, male) with H1N1-associated fulminate respiratory and secondary hemodynamic deterioration who was rescued by initial emergent ECMO established through a dialysis catheter and subsequent switch to central cannulation following median sternotomy. This report highlights several important issues. First, it describes a successful use of a dialysis catheter for the establishment of a veno-venous ECMO in an emergency case by child. Second, it highlights the importance of a closely monitoring of clotting parameters during ECMO therapy and third, if severe respiratory failure is complicated by cardiogenic shock, veno-atrial ECMO support via median sternotomy should be considered as a viable treatment option without further delay.