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Israel hits record COVID patients on ECMO machines

ECMO machine at the Intensive care unit in the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on September 23, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
ECMO machine at the Intensive care unit in the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem on September 23, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel currently has 53 patients on ECMO machines used for treating some critical coronavirus cases, Channel 12 news reports, a record since the start of the pandemic.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines do the work of a person’s heart and lungs in order to allow them to recover from serious respiratory illness.

Unlike ventilators that just assist with breathing, they provide cardiac and respiratory assistance by oxygenating a patient’s blood outside of the body and are used for only the most critically ill.

Hospital chiefs warned earlier this week that they are facing a shortage of ECMO machines and that the Israeli healthcare system could be “on the way to total failure” if more funds are not allocated immediately.

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