Thanks to lifesaving treatment, local man gets to celebrate another Father’s Day

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SAN ANTONIO – A lifesaving treatment helped one local man get back on his feet after he was diagnosed with the flu and pneumonia.

Last December, what 29-year-old Justin Moreno thought was a minor cold, ended up almost costing his life.

“I was coughing a lot and having trouble breathing,” said Moreno.

Three days later, he tested positive for the flu.

As days went on, Moreno said he wasn’t getting any better. Moreno went to the ER at Northeast Methodist. A chest ex-ray showed he had pneumonia. However, after medications, Moreno said he only felt worse.

Moreno was then admitted to the ICU at Northeast Methodist with respiratory failure. One lung was full of fluid and the other half full.

Dr. Jeffrey Dellavolpe at Main Methodist Hospital said Moreno was then put on “ECMO,” also known as Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

“It’s a procedure that we do where we take blood out of the body we put oxygen in it and then we put the blood back in the body. It involves large lines, or cannulas as we call them, that go into the vessels in the body and drain blood out. They can cause damages, and bleeding it’s procedure that we don’t take lightly,” said Dr. Jeffrey Dellavolpe.

Dr. Dellavolpe said it’s a procedure that has been used for decades to treat respiratory failure and severe heart failure.

“I think there (was) a very significant chance that he would have died. The use of ECMO has really skyrocketed over the last decades,” added Dr. Dellavolpe.

With ECMO, Dr. Dellavolpe said patients are able to get off the breathing machine, which will then allow their lungs to heal.

“The problem with the breathing machine is that it beats the lung up and it causes tons of trauma to those lungs. We get them up. We have them eating and interacting with family. They have less ICU related psychosis,” said Dr. Dellavolpe.

Moreno said he feels a lot better after the treatment.

“I will tell anybody that ECMO saved my life,” added Moreno.

Moreno was in the hospital for 45 days. He is now re-united with his wife and his 7-year-old stepdaughter.

“It was a life changing moment for me.”

About ECMO

Patients with severe cardiac and respiratory failure now have an option for air transport on ECMO with a specially trained ECMO team and mobile ECMO unit.

ECMO Transport boasts an experienced team working directly with you, your institution and the receiving facility to safely transport your ECMO patient. We can safely transport patients domestically or even internationally.

In collaboration with our CAMTS-accredited air carrier, ECMO Transport offers fixed-wing transport for any ECMO patient. Our transport services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are unique in that we staff an ECMO-trained physician on board, as well as an ECMO specialist and the equipment necessary for carrying out the transport.

We work with the air carriers to identify facilities that can place your ECMO patient. All it takes is one call to mobilize our team, ensuring the fastest response time to transport your ECMO patient safely and efficiently.eam and mobile ECMO unit.