ECMO Life Support Is a Last Resort for Covid, and in Short Supply in South

Hospital discharge day for Phoua Yang was more like a pep rally. On her way rolling out of TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, she teared up as streamers and confetti rained down on her. Nurses chanted her name as they wheeled her out of the hospital for the first time since she arrived in February with covid-19, barely able to breathe. The 38-year-old mother is living proof of the power of ECMO — a method of oxygenating a patient’s blood outside the body, then pumping it back in. Her story helps explain why a shortage of trained staff members who can run the machines that perform this extracorporeal membrane oxygenation has become such a ...

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