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A new form of transportation to the hospital for critically ill patients

Legacy Emanuel unveils a mobile ICU

Legacy Health Mobile ECMO Team and new Metro West Ambulance. Photo Credit: Metro West


Legacy Emanuel Medical Center used ECMO nonstop as a treatment option for respiratory or cardiac failure patients during the pandemic. Legacy Emanuel’s mobile ECMO team completed 100 ground transports. They traveled to other hospitals to place critically ill patients on ECMO for transport back to Legacy Emanuel for inpatient care.


The ECMO Team now has a new, oversized Metro West Ambulance specifically designed for the highest level of critical care. “This customized ambulance is an intensive care unit,” says Shannon Shambley, RN, Legacy’s ECMO program manager. “When a referring provider calls us for a consult on a patient who isn’t responding to treatment, we can use this ambulance to safely transport patients within a three-hour radius back to Legacy Emanuel for ECMO,” says Shambley. “We reach these patients as quickly as possible to try to save their lives, so we’re pleased to have this enhanced vehicle to use. Though we’re beyond the pandemic, we’re still busy.”


The Metro West Ambulance was customized and designed with input from the ECMO team. It was built for one primary purpose: to offer the highest level of critical care transport in an emergency vehicle. It is equipped with double the oxygen compared to a regular ambulance, allowing for longer patient transports with our specialized ventilators. A generator backs up all life support systems. The ambulance seating design emphasizes the important team dynamic required to treat and transport ECMO patients. It seats up to seven ECMO and Metro West team members (physicians, respiratory therapists, nurses, and emergency medical technicians).

The hard work of the ECMO team during the pandemic contributed to their recently earned distinction as a Platinum Center of Excellence by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization. The designation is awarded to less than 50 medical centers around the world.


“Our Platinum Center of Excellence results from more than 30 years of hard work,” Shambley emphasizes. “Our application reflected our innovation, protocols, and dedication to the ECMO community globally and the patients we serve. We were able to respond to the pandemic because of this work.”

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