Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro, part of Ascension Tennessee, is launching a new system to provide a specific life-saving treatment to hospitals across Tennessee. The effort consists of a dedicated group of clinicians, intensive care nurses and paramedics who make up the ECMO Transport Team.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a medical procedure that uses a powerful machine to provide both cardiac and respiratory support to patients whose heart and lungs are failing. The treatment was primarily used on children in the past, but it has expanded to more adults. Patients include those who are waiting for a transplant or suffered from flu complications.

“The last four years we’ve seen a high volume. It’s advanced so much in the last few years, and the research that’s been done helps give patients the opportunity to survive when there used to not be an opportunity for the level of severity,” Saint Thomas West ECMO Coordinator Jeanie Earwood told NewsChannel 5.

ECMO has been provided at the hospital for almost a decade, but making it mobile is new. Starting July 1, the team will travel via ambulance to calls from any hospital across Tennessee, attach the patient to its ECMO device and bring the patient to Nashville for treatment.

“Patients on ECMO support at another hospital call us because they want to transport their patient,” Jeanie said.

Click here for the NewChannel 5 story.