Woman searches for ECMO Clinic to help brother fighting COVID

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 9:02 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -What would you do if you were told both your mother and brother were admitted to the ICU battling COVID-19?

At the start of the New Year, Bay County native Corina Streekmann was forced to answer that question.

“They’re both at Gulf Coast Hospital. Both of them have COVID. They’re both on ventilators, my brother is a little bit is in more critical condition than my mother,” Streekmann said.

Streekmann’s brother, who is a 52-year-old veteran now needs more than just a ventilator to get through his battle.

“I believe my brother needs what’s called an ECMO machine. And basically, what that does is it helps get rid of the co2 that is in a system,” Streekmann said.

According to the Cleveland Clinic ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) is a machine that functions as a patient’s heart and lungs for them so their body can recover from an illness like COVID-19.

The clinic says it will take the carbon dioxide out and pump oxygen back into the body.

But there is one problem the hospital that her brother is being treated at does not have this machine.

“It’s just a matter of finding the hospital that is not inundated with other patients and is willing to take him,” Streekmann said.

So far the family hasn’t had success finding a hospital that will take him.

“There were a few places that he could transfer to was one in Texas, the Brooks Army Medical Center. Then there was Shands in Gainesville, however, they declined,” Streekmann said.

But she is not giving up on her brother’s fight.

“My goal is either to find an ECMO machine to bring it here, which I don’t think is possible, or to get him to an ECMO machine. So his lungs can start to heal,” Streekmann said.

Newschannel 7 reached out to both Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center and Ascension Sacred Heart about ECMO machines in the area, both confirmed there are none at any of the local hospitals.

Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center did provide Newschannel 7 with the following statement:

“When a patient needs ECMO, we work with our HCA Healthcare Facilities as well as other hospitals across the state to ensure they can receive this advanced level of treatment.”

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