ECMO Treatment Saves Lives

Gulf Coast Healthy Living Magazine Volume 6, Issue 4 - Baptist Health Care - Heart

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The call that every parent dreads – YOUR CHILD IS IN TROUBLE.

And he’s more than 700 miles away. Robin Milligan Jones and husband Donald Jones received this call in North Carolina and flew to Pensacola, Fla., to be with their son who was gravely ill. Their healthy 17-year old son Payne Jones had been vacationing in Destin with his girlfriend and her family when he began experiencing difficulty breathing after beach exposure and sun exposure. Within a short time, Jones went from being a vibrant teenager to a fragile patient on a ventilator.

After other area hospitals did all they could for Jones, he was ultimately transported to Baptist Hospital — the only provider in the Northwest Florida region to offer the lifesaving treatment he required. Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute had secured the treatment only weeks before. Jones became Baptist’s first patient to use the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), an advanced treatment for people who have life-threatening breathing or heart problems.

ECMO is a rescue treatment that provides short to long-term support for patients with severe conditions such as severe pneumonia, influenza, massive heart attack or massive pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs). In such cases when the heart and lungs are too weak to function, ECMO can support the lungs or both the heart and lungs allowing them to recover.

Jon Neyman, CCP, is the perfusionist and ECMO program leader who cared for Jones from his arrival to his release.

“We have been working on this (ECMO program) for more than six months,” said Neyman. “It was coming and I knew it. I was prepared. We all were. Having a young kid as a first patient was a surprise. We weren’t going to let anything go wrong. We wanted to make sure everything went perfect and it did,” said Neyman.

Neyman provided 24/7 ECMO service care for three days nonstop to ensure that Jones’ care was seamless. Jones made a full recovery. He has since returned home to North Carolina and is receiving follow up care with his primary care physician.

“I’m pretty sure we would have lost him (without the ECMO),” said Robin Milligan-Jones, the patient’s mother.

To read more about how ECMO saved Payne Jones life please visit Gulf Coast Healthy Living - Fall 2017 edition. To read more about ECMO please visit