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  • Samantha, patient testimonial

    Regular Memorial Visits Help Samantha to Live Life with Sickle Cell Disease

    Feeling fine one moment and in excruciating pain the next, Samantha said she lived with pain from sickle cell disease all of her life before coming to Memorial.

    She regularly visits Memorial’s sickle cell day hospital for pain treatments, hydration and care to avoid a sickle cell crisis.

    “We connect patients with the resources they need through a health coaching system,” says Todra Anderson-Rhodes, MD, inpatient leader, Memorial Sickle Cell Task Force.

    “Now, I have everything in order,” Samantha said. “They take your whole life into consideration. Memorial is great for just the support, the compassion and the love.”

    Sickle cell is a genetic disease named for the shape of the affected red blood cells, explains Jennifer Goldman, DO, chief, Memorial Primary Care. Instead of being round, plump and able to carry a lot of oxygen to tissues, the cells are shaped like small sickles that cause pain when they stick to blood vessel walls and block oxygen flow.

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  • Heather, holding baby

    Memorial Helps Adult Congenital Heart Disease Patient Heather During High-Risk Pregnancies

    Multiple teams of Memorial specialists care for Heather who has adult congenital heart disease — teams that have guided her through two high-risk pregnancies.

    After valve replacement surgery at Memorial, Heather decided to start a family, and during pregnancy she started coughing up blood.

    Mark Block, MD, chief, Thoracic Surgery, removed part of her lung. “She recovered, and that was the last I heard of her, at least so I thought,” he said.

    During her second pregnancy, Heather began coughing up blood again. Dr. Block used a camera to examine her windpipe, and when the bleeding became unsafe, Memorial’s high-risk OB team immediately performed a cesarean section. Then, to avoid another lung surgery, she was placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

    ECMO is like an artificial lung that oxygenates the blood and removes carbon dioxide, explained Lance Cohen, MD, medical director, Adult ECMO Program. “We supported her for a few days to allow her lungs to heal,” he said.

    “They're an amazing team,” Heather said. “It was a great relief to know that they were looking out for me and for our family.”

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  • Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Memorial Regional Hospital ELSO Award for Excellence in Life Support Gold Center of Excellence

    Memorial Regional Hospital Recognized For the Capabilities and Outcomes of its ECMO Program

    Memorial Regional Hospital has been recognized by Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) as a “Designated Gold Level Center of Excellence” for its Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) program. The Memorial Healthcare System facility is one of only four adult hospitals in Florida to earn the recognition from the international society and the only program south of Orlando. The Center of Excellence designation requires re-application every three years, with this being the second consecutive Gold award for Memorial.

    ECMO is an advanced therapy that uses a machine to temporarily replace the function of the heart and lungs of critically-ill patients recovering from severe lung damage, cardiogenic shock or heart failure. Blood is pumped and oxygenated outside of the body, and then returned to the body, allowing the patient’s heart and/or lungs to rest.

    Designated Centers of Excellence are experienced in-patient care providers with established policies, procedures, training, education and community leadership. Centers must incorporate highly developed quality initiatives and continuously review processes within their program. Outcome reviews must be demonstrated as an integral component of their organization.

    “Our Memorial Cardiac & Vascular Institute teams are focused on providing patients the very best critical care services, integrating advanced life support equipment and patient care,” said I-wen Wang, MD, chief of Memorial Healthcare System’s Adult Heart Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support Program. “Being recognized as a gold level Center of Excellence at Memorial Regional reflects the dedication to advancing healthcare that we continuously strive to achieve daily.”

    Memorial’s ECMO program is made up of a multi-disciplinary team of critical care, cardiac surgery, heart failure, and transplant surgery specialists who work together to support patients. It was the first provider in South Florida to offer mobile ECMO services, which provide safe hospital-to-hospital transfers of ECMO patients under the care and supervision of a specially-trained transport team.

    ELSO is an international, nonprofit consortium of healthcare institutions, researchers, providers, and industry partners. It provides support to those delivering extracorporeal life support through continuing education, guidelines, original research, publications, and a comprehensive registry of ECMO patient data.