Inside a hospital unit fighting to save sickest Covid-19 patients

Royal Brompton’s Adult Intensive Care Unit appeared on Channel 4 News last night (Monday, May 18th) as Health and Social Care Correspondent Victoria Macdonald reported on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine) and how, when ventilation is no longer enough to keep a patient alive, ECMO is often the last hope for the sickest patents.

ECMO is used when a patient has a critical condition which prevents the lungs or heart from working normally. ECMO oxygenates the blood drained from the patient, which is then returned to the patient when their lungs are unable to do so. An ECMO machine is similar to equipment used during a heart-lung bypass operation.

The Trust is one of five ECMO units in England and Royal Brompton is currently caring for some of the most critically-ill Covid-19 patients in the country. In the piece, Channel 4 News explores how ECMO works with Dr Stephane Ledot, intensive care consultant and ECMO lead, and Jo Tillman, critical care senior nurse. Members of the Trust’s ECMO team talk through the patient retrieval process and what it is like caring for patients on ECMO - giving viewers a valuable insight into the entire ECMO process.

The piece also shines a light on the Trust’s Family Liaison Team, established to work with patients’ families to ensure they are kept informed and updated everyday on their loved one’s condition. ECMO patient, Damion, speaks fondly of the care he received from the team while his wife Margaret talks of the comfort she found in working with the Trust’s Family Liaison Team.

The full piece can be viewed here and below: