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 had.”

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!

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