Mercy Health Foundation Greater Toledo

Thanks to gifts to the Foundation, ECMO technology saved Earl from a deadly lung injury after a motorcycle accident

When the staff nickname a patient ‘ECMO Earl,’ something truly special has occurred. Gifts to the Foundation were part of Earl’s life-saving experience.

Earl and Nancy Rodriguez were traveling by motorcycle when they collided with a box truck. The couple were transported by Life Flight to Mercy Health. According to Earl’s sister, Monná, who traveled from her home in Texas to care for her brother and sister-in-law, things weren’t looking good.

“He was on a ventilator with nine broken ribs and a collapsed right lung,” she said. “Everything was bad. No one thought he was going to make it.”

As a last resort, Earl was placed on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), a machine that lets blood flow outside the body to an artificial lung. Generous gifts helped purchase this technology that adds oxygen and removes carbon dioxide from the blood, then warms and pumps the blood back in the body, allowing time for the heart and lungs to rest and heal.

Earl received ECMO treatment for 10 days, and it repaired his body beyond everyone’s expectations.

“Every doctor we’ve taken him to is amazed by his recovery,” Monná said. “He survived because ECMO gave his body time to heal from within.”

‘ECMO Earl’ and his wife are doing better today, and Monná is thankful for donors who make lifesaving technology available in our community.

“It saved his life. I wouldn’t have him today it wasn’t for ECMO. Had this not been available, he would have died in the hospital.”