Several hospital networks at capacity for ECMO machines

Virus Outbreak Washington
Posted at 5:53 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 21:04:35-05

PHOENIX — Several large hospital networks in Arizona are reporting that they are at capacity for ECMO machines that are used for advanced life support for the heart or lungs.

Banner Health and Honor Health have both confirmed to ABC15 that they are at capacity for ECMO machines at this time for the sickest of COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Nina Shah, Chief Medical Officer for Honor Health said they are unable to take ECMO patients from outside their system at this time, “anytime we have to say no to a patient because of capacity, it’s a little heartbreaking for everybody involved.”

Banner Health tells ABC15 that their staff and resources are also being stretched thin.

As of Wednesday, eight of their hospitals are operating over 100% capacity, “We continue to see all COVID-related hospitalization metrics increase exponentially, including hospitalizations, ICU utilization, and ventilator usage,” said a Banner spokesperson.

Banner Health adds that on Wednesday they saw the highest ICU utilization since January 2021.

Valleywise Health also added that their resources are being strained as of Wednesday morning there were three available ICU beds in the morning, but that number can fluctuate throughout a day.

Dr. Michael White with Valleywise Health says it’s not uncommon for hospitals to go on diversion for ambulance traffic for a period of time, “when you go on diversion, you’re just not able to take those influx of patients for whatever reason, for staffing, our operating rooms they’re all at capacity, all being used, so we don’t have capacity to take that emerging patient that would come in.”

White said with the current number of COVID-19 patients, he expects they will need an additional COVID-19 ward in the coming weeks.