EDINBURG, Texas – DHR Health says it has achieved another first in the Rio Grande Valley. The health system successfully used Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), also known as extracorporeal life support, to save the life of a 57 year old Edinburg woman. 

Maria Dalcour was rushed to the Level 1 Trauma Center after suffering a massive heart attack on February 19, 2023. The following day her heart stopped, and the ICU staff restarted her heart, but she was progressing toward cardiac arrest again. The ECMO team had just minutes to connect the ECMO machine through plastic tubes in Dalcour’s legs to circulate her blood into the heart-lung machine, remove carbon dioxide, and send oxygen-filled blood back to the tissues in her body. Dalcour’s life was saved.

“It is the most sophisticated life-support technology in the world, and the device used at DHR Health is the same device used at the most prestigious academic centers in the world. Mrs. Dalcour is alive today because of the fast thinking, highly trained professionals at DHR Health and our new ECMO program”, said Dr. Andrew Phillips, medical director of the ECMO Program and associate medical director of ICU at the DHR Health Level 1 Trauma Center. 

“It is difficult to explain how much this changes things for the most critically ill patients in the RGV who, as of last month, would have died. Instead, just 3 days after her heart stopped, Mrs. Dalcour was hugging her family and telling the staff her favorite local restaurants.”

In the attached video, Dr. Jeffrey Skubic, who specializes in trauma surgery and emergency general surgery, discusses ECMO treatment at DHR.


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