Baptist’s Calling for ECMO Care

The compassionate team members at Baptist often see patients at their sickest when patients are completely dependent upon their care. They do everything they can for the patients and their families, exhausting every option and making sure there is no untapped opportunity for what they hope will be a favorable health outcome. As Kelly Anderson said in the video below, “Baptist makes the best of the most horrible situation you can imagine” – caring for your loved one while he or she may be fighting for life.

Baptist’s ECMO program was the first in Northwest Florida and South Alabama, beginning in 2017. The team provides compassionate care, often when patients are at their most vulnerable.

ECMO Milestone

Baptist’s ECMO team is the most experienced in the region and reached a significant milestone with the treatment of its 100th patient to undergo ECMO in February 2022. The program was created in 2017 and has drawn experts from across the U.S. to join the ECMO team.

What is ECMO and how is it used?

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is an advanced specialized treatment that provides temporary support for patients with severe conditions such as severe pneumonia, influenza, massive heart attack or massive pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs). It has also been used to treat patients with complications from COVID-19.

ECMO pumps the blood outside the body to a heart-lung machine which removes the carbon dioxide and then returns the oxygen-rich blood into the body. The ECMO machine replaces the functions of the heart and lungs, allowing them to rest and heal.

When is ECMO typically recommended?

For some patients who are gravely ill, it can be a lifesaving treatment. The mother of former patient Tim Anderson, Mena Anderson, refers to it as a “window crack” – an opening in a window before it has completely closed. Tim’s wife, Kelly Anderson, says it was a “last resort” in her husband’s care.

How is ECMO care coordinated and maintained?

The core team consists of ECMO specialists, perfusionists, bedside nurses, a program coordinator, a program lead and the medical director. Others who provide additional specialized services for ECMO patients include a cardiac surgical team, intensivists, respiratory therapists and physical therapists. To become an ECMO specialist, a nurse must undergo special clinical training and pass a written exam. They must also complete continuing ECMO education.

For more information about ECMO, call -  850.908.ECMO (3266).

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Care Patient Guide