Happy ECMO Week 2022 Highlights

ECMO Team Joins Team of Heroes in Saving a Life

Florida resident, Don Brown, had a recent life experience that truly proved ECMO is an ultimate team effort in patient care. After a triple bypass, his heart and lungs began to take a turn for the worst, and HCA Florida Blake Hospital fashioned a make-shift ECMO machine to keep him alive while they transported him to Memorial Hospital with a proper ECMO machine. With the help of the US Air force, Brown was transported on an Air Force Blackhawk that landed safely on a park near Memorial with the help and coordination of the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department. The team effort that went into saving this man’s life significantly set the standard for patient care on this day. Brown is now fully recovered and enjoying life again with his family.

Don’s words effectively capture the impact ECMO had on his survival:

“I just want to say a big thank you. I can’t thank everyone enough – how they all came together as a team: All for me. It wasn’t one person, it was Jacksonville, Bradenton, my wife, my three sons, the Air Force and prayers! A big thank you. I appreciate everything they did. I wasn’t treated as a number, everyone was very responsive, they were all outstanding. From the doctors to janitors at both hospitals, everyone was very professional. I was always being asked if I needed anything. Everyone was just so kind. I cannot say how much I appreciated how they made me feel so comfortable. And my wife was treated so well. My story is a success story showing how critical an ECMO machine is and what it can do for a patient like me. I am no longer on oxygen or dialysis. I am active doing cardiac rehab back in Bradenton, playing golf, walking and riding my bicycle every day. I’m getting back to where I was. It took true teamwork. Thank you.”

ELSO Center of Excellence

We also want to take this time to highlight a major accomplishment in the east region. Both Jacksonville Memorial and Abington Memorial Hospital recently received word from ELSO that they achieved the ELSO Center of Excellence. ECMO is a team sport, so we want to thank both Ruggero Bruzzone’s team and Dan Marino’s team here in the Northeast for the high level excellence displayed in their care of patients and the hospitals they serve every day. We want to thank the east region leadership for supporting the teams and giving them the resources and time that they needed to dedicate to the application process. Achieving the ELSO Center of Excellence for our hospital partners is a major differentiator for us as the major ECMO provider in the country.

We spoke with both Ruggero and Dan to get their take on the importance of team work in the world of ECMO.

Ruggero Bruzzone, BS, RRT, E-AEC, CES-A (ECMO Coordinator): 

  • Why do you think ECMO is a team sport?
    ECMO involves multiple moving parts, even prior to being placed on ECMO support. As all things within the healthcare field, one can not solely focus on one component of the patient’s treatment to be able to provide excellent care and desired outcomes. Outside of the core ECMO staff, there are many members of the multidisciplinary team who work closely with the ECMO Coordinator and Specialists to ensure we are all on the same page working towards the same goal. Once on ECMO, the patient may still require numerous specialties and devices to be involved in their care – it is vital we are all working together and understanding everyone’s role. Within the ECMO team there is still much team work that is required to run smoothly. Although the specialists may only see one another at shift change at times, they stay in constant communication. The healthcare field is always evolving and the coordinator and specialist rely on one another to be able to adapt and evolve with the field by pulling together and leaning on each other’s strengths to be able to grow as a team and as individuals. 
  • What makes the team at Memorial stand out?
    The team at HCA Florida Memorial Hospital truly stands out due to their dedication and selflessness. It is clear that the members of the ECMO team came into the right field as they prioritize patients safety and care above all else. With all things in life, we have had to get over hurdles either as a team or individuals. The team in Jacksonville seeks to help one another and help each other grow. When a hurdle or complication arises – team members are quick to speak up and offer assistance even when it’s not required. The ability to focus on a common goal and desire to see the team and their coworkers grow, rather than prioritizing individual gain, has made all the difference to be able to grow this program as quickly as we have. 

Dan Marino, BSN, RN, CCRN, CES-A (East Region ECMO Coordinator)

Why do you think ECMO is a team sport? 

The care of ECMO can be very complex. One person cannot be an expert on all the care that goes into ECMO day in and day out. We rely on one another every day to make the best decisions for our patients. ECMO really evens the playing field and humbles each of us. Hierarchies are broken down and we are all just clinicians that respect each other’s input and are striving for the best for our patients. 

What makes the team at Abington Memorial Hospital stand out?

The ECMO specialists at Abington Memorial Hospital have a real team spirit. They all work towards the collective goal of excellence for each one of our patients and the development of the program. They all look for ways to contribute to the growth of the team and program. The way they partner with AMH team is remarkable. If you asked someone from the outside to identify who is a contractor and who is not, they would not be able to do it. We pride ourselves in a strong, cohesive, and supportive relationship with hospital partners. Our medical director is one of strongest ECMO clinicians I have had the pleasure of working with. He is a humble leader who works hard at continually improving the program. He spends time with me weekly to discuss plans, initiatives, patient care, etc. He values my input and empowers me to make an impact of the success of the program.

Launch Your ECMO Specialist Career Today

SpecialtyCare’s commitment to ECMO services is a response to growing needs, and we continue to evolve our ECMO service line to support hospitals across the country with staffing, consulting, and structured educational programs. Our goal is to help hospitals safely keep ECMO patients at their facility by setting up an infrastructure that is efficient, cost-effective, and properly staffed with highly-trained people and equipment. To learn more about our Online ECMO Training, click here!