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ECMO machine kept father alive so his lungs could heal at UF Health Jacksonville

ECMO machine kept father alive so his lungs could heal at UF Health Jacksonville

ECMO machine kept father alive so his lungs could heal at UF Health Jacksonville
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ECMO machine kept father alive so his lungs could heal at UF Health Jacksonville

A new procedure is being used locally to keep adults alive even when their two main organs are not properly working.

A father's body was failing him after he was struck by a truck on June 28. Brandon Taylor was admitted to UF Health Jacksonville and the trajectory of his condition was deteriorating rapidly.

Dr. Brian Yorkgitis, assistant professor of surgery and Dr. Joseph Shiber, associate professor of surgery were a part of Brandon’s critical care team. 

“Brandon had every system of his body injured. He had broken bones -- neck, back and he had a very, very severe chest injury,” Yorkgitis said.

On July 3, physicians spoke with Brandon’s wife, Brittany, about using a device called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The machine, which is also known as ECMO, became her husband’s lifeline to recovery. 

“It got to the point where he was not going to be able to survive without his lungs if they truly didn’t have the ability to heal and rest. Brandon’s heart was fine, but his lungs were failing,” Shiber said. 

Brittany signed off on the procedure two days later, knowing Brandon’s lungs were no longer functioning. The machine would replace the function of the lungs in terms of providing oxygen to the blood system. 

“He was going to die because his lungs were failing. With the ECMO machine, we could change his life and his life expectancy by supporting him as his lungs healed,” Yorkgitis said. 

On Thursday, Action News Jax was there as Brandon and his wife went back to UF Health to show their appreciation to his medical support team. 

Being at the hospital was less daunting for Brittany, knowing her husband is thriving and doing well. 

“It doesn’t look as intimidating back here when he’s not here,” she said. 

Brittany claims that the ECMO saved her husband’s life. 

“ECMO was literally our last option. They were very vocal about that. They did everything they possibly could,” she said. 

If your lungs and heart aren’t working properly, this machine will take over to provide oxygen to your blood system until your organs are healthy enough to do their job. Catheters went through Brandon’s groin to provide support so his lungs could rest and heal.

Brandon cheated death. He doesn’t remember his stay in the hospital. While at UF Health, he spoke with his medical team and expressed his gratitude for their help. 

“I’d like to tell them thank you. I appreciate all the help you gave me,” Brandon Taylor said. 

ECMO regularly provides necessary oxygenation to infants, but this case is currently the only one in which the machine was used in Jacksonville on an adult.

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