April 10, 2020
Anderson calls on health service to source ECMO machines

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has emphasised the need for state-of-the-art oxygenation machines that may be required for the most critically ill Covid-19 patients to be purchased by the health service as a matter of urgency.

Martina Anderson said she is already aware of local patients that may require treatment from an ECMO extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine.

The Foyle MLA said:

“When I raised this matter on behalf of a local patient, the Health Trust told me that patients from here requiring ECMO treatment would be flown to a specialist centre in Britain.

“Under current COVID-19 restrictions and the mounting pressures on health services I am deeply sceptical that authorities will be able to safely fly a critically-Ill patient to England. The Health Trusts and the Health Department need to recognise the reality of the situation and ensure that treatment and procurement decisions reflect the circumstances we are now all facing.

“ECMO machines are manufactured in Galway. The Dublin Government and the northern Executive this week agreed a memorandum of understanding on an all-island response to the Coronavirus threat.

“A good start would be for Health Minister Robin Swann to ensure that ECMO treatment is available for patients here in the North.”

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