tri-city medical center

Lifesaving Equipment Donation Breathes New Life Into Patents

Tri-City Hospital Foundation raises thousands for expensive equipment

Man in light blue scrubs stands next to a table with a metal box and tubes.
Joe Little, NBC 7

North County frontline medical workers now have new tools to continue their fight against the coronavirus.

The Tri-City Hospital Foundation raised the funds to purchase a new extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine and an Airvo High-Flow Oxygen Device for the Tri-City Medical Center staff.

The Airvo is the 13th in the organization's arsenal. Respiratory-care practitioner Shannon Cocilova said the Airvo delivers high oxygen concentrations to COVID-19 patients. It’s an alternative to ventilators.

The ECMO, however, is the first in the North County. The $152,000 machine can step in when the patient’s body needs to rest.

“The COVID destroys their lungs and the lungs need to rest, and this machine allows patients' lungs to recover,” said Dr. Darrell Wu, who is a cardiothoracic surgeon. “It takes the blood from the body, drains it, oxygenates it and returns it back into the body.”

It allows a patient’s lungs and heart to recover while the machine does the work.

“I’m depending on this machine to support my life,” Danny Plata recalled.

Plata spent more than two months attached to an ECMO machine after contracting a severe case of COVID-19.

“It’s a long process and it’s very scary,” Plata said after finally being discharged from Sharp Memorial in San Diego. “It was a blessing in helping my recovery.

“This is actually going to save lives," said Jennifer Paroly, the president of the Tri-City Hospital Foundatio. "Literally save lives."

Paroly believes every new instrument and tool the founcation can purchase through donations brings San Diego County closer to getting out of the pandemic.

“I know we’ve still got some hurdles to go through, but I feel very hopeful,” Paroly said.

Contact Us