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St. Vincent Medical Center saves patient with severe case of COVID-19 using ECMO technology

According to the medical center, after spending just over a week on ECMO, the 30-year-old Tiffin resident was taken off the machine and discharged a week later.

TOLEDO, Ohio — St. Vincent Medical Center has used extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to help a patient recover from a severe case of COVID-19.

According to the medical center, after spending just over a week on ECMO, the 30-year-old Tiffin resident was taken off the machine and discharged a week later.

But, how does ECMO work?

A specially trained medical team uses a machine to do the work that the heart and lungs normally do. Before its arrival at St. Vincent, the advanced technology was only available outside of northwest Ohio.

The patient, her sister and the Mercy Health ECMO team plan to speak to the public on Thursday about the specifics of this treatment and how it saved her life. 

The life-saving technology previously has been used in the area by ProMedica in 2009 to save the life of a woman suffering the effects of the H1N1 virus. A spokesperson for ProMedica says the health system has been using ECMO for COVID-19 patients since 2020.