Cooper critical care team earns national honor for excellence in life support

The Center for Critical Care Medicine at Cooper University Health Care received national recognition for its outstanding extracorporeal membrane oxygenation program, an advanced lifesaving system used for critically ill patients. The Cooper team was named a Silver Level Center on the Path to Excellence in Life Support program by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization.

The award recognizes centers that demonstrate an exceptional commitment to evidence-based processes and quality measures, staff training and continuing education, patient satisfaction and ongoing clinical care. The award also recognizes and honors extracorporeal life support programs that reach the highest level of performance, innovation, satisfaction and quality.

“We are honored to be the recipient of such a prestigious award. We were able to help countless patients due to the vision of our administration and the tireless efforts our physicians, nurses, perfusionists and respiratory therapists. Dr. Emily Damuth and Rob Rios deserve special recognition for this achievement, as they kept the database about our patients, which helped us adjust our practices to improve care,” Dr. Nitin Puri, division head of critical care medicine at Cooper, said. “The ECMO Center accomplishments reflect the dedication to advancing health care that we continuously strive to achieve at Cooper, not only for southern New Jersey, but the world.”

Cooper provides ECMO for support of failing organ systems in adults. ECMO is one of the most advanced forms of life support available to patients experiencing acute failure of the cardiac and respiratory systems. ECMO allows time for the patient’s lungs or heart to heal by using a heart-lung machine to oxygenate the blood outside the body.

Cooper was among the first hospitals in nation to use ECMO extensively to treat many critically ill COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic. The treatment saved the lives of dozens of patients who would have died without the treatment. Based on their experiences in treating COVID patients with ECMO, Cooper’s critical care team served in an advisory capacity for hospitals around the nation and the world.