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Florida Hospital Waterman first in Lake County to offer sophisticated life-support therapy known as ECMO

Florida Hospital Waterman is the first and only hospital in Lake County to now offer critically-ill patients sophisticated life-support therapy that allows their lung or heart to heal after severe injury. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), is a complex procedure utilizing a compact, high-tech “heart-lung” machine that adds oxygen to the blood via a series of sterile tubes thus allowing the lung or heart to rest and heal.

“We have fulfilled a vision here at Florida Hospital Waterman to provide the highest level of critical care to our community,” explains Dr. Louis Guzzi, MD. Director of Critical Care Medicine. “Lake County has a large population of elderly residents and those experiencing acute illness such as pneumonia or heart failure. Having this advanced life-support technology means we no longer need to transport critically ill patients to Orlando for treatment. We now offer the same level of care right here next to home.”

“Our team is very excited to have this treatment available for our patients,” says Laura Everett, RN, Nurse Manager for the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Florida Hospital Waterman. “Of course, you feel the pain of the patient you’re taking care of, but critical care nurses love technology and anything new to learn. Developing this program has been fascinating and took a great deal of training across several different medical disciplines. Physicians, surgeons, certified perfusionists, respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and physician assistants all come together to care for the same patient at the same time."

Since starting the ECMO program in January of this year, several patients have already been successfully treated using this advanced technology to save their lives.

“We are providing the highest level of care to patients right here in their community and I think that makes a big difference for continuity of care,” says Abel Biri, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Hospital Waterman. “We are the first and only hospital in Lake County with ECMO available and I think it is a significant resource for our community.”