Dr. Gurmeet Singh, the Medical Director of the ECMO Program at the Maz
COOPER & O’HARA
Though she was moments from losing consciousness, Jolissa Doerksen grasped the severity of her situation. Lying immobile in a hospital bed in Grande Prairie’s intensive care unit, the 23-year-old new mom was alternating between seeing bright light and blackness.
“There is no other option for these patients. This is it.”
The success of any program is completely dependent on the members of the team – the people who are dedicated to the program’s success,” Singh says.
By volume we are probably the second-biggest program in the country” after Toronto, says Singh. “I have worked in four advanced cardiovascular intensive care units across North America, including the Cleveland Clinic, and I can tell you that our program is second to none, anywhere in the world.
The number of patients who go on ECMO has climbed from 15 to 20 a year when Singh came to Edmonton 12 years ago, to about 50 per year now, though the peak was 70 in a year. Prior to 2009, ECMO support was not offered for isolated lung failure. Even so, Singh and his team only accept a percentage of the ECMO referrals, as many just will not benefit from this type of support.
By volume we are probably the second-biggest program in the country.
“They all played a part in my miracle.”