Breath of Life
On January 26, 2019, 37-year-old Ernesto Guzman’s sore throat and
cough just wasn’t going away. After visiting a local urgent care,
his caregivers recognized he needed more advanced care and he was directed
to the emergency department at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.
Our emergency medicine physicians detected that Ernesto had dangerously
low oxygen levels and diagnosed him with swine flu. He was then admitted
to the intensive care unit (ICU) and placed on a ventilator as his condition
worsened into severe pneumonia.
After some time, Ernesto was still not reaching normal oxygen levels and
he was transferred to our cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU).
His care team decided to utilize the advanced support of our extracorporeal
membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine in order to keep him alive. ECMO therapy
replaces the function of the patient’s lungs and allows them to
rest and heal.
For three weeks, Ernesto relied on ECMO therapy while in a medically-induced
coma with his wife by his side every day. During the night when she had
to go home to take care of their three children and business, she felt
reassured trusting and knowing that her husband was getting the best care
possible at PVHMC.
After three weeks, Ernesto’s oxygen levels finally began to return
to normal. Within just one month, he was well enough to be transferred
to a rehabilitation facility. Today, Guzman is home and continues to undergo
therapy to help him regain his strength.
“I am thankful that I was admitted to the right place, at the right
time,” says Ernesto. “PVHMC is the best hospital I have ever
It took the expert care of our entire team, as well as advanced technologies
like our ECMO machine, to save Ernesto’s life. All were overjoyed
to see him this past week when he and his wife stopped by to say hello!