SpecialtyCare is honored to share that one of our patients at Swedish Medical Center, Nate McWilliams, who spent 158 days in the hospital—91 of those on ECMO—was recently released from the hospital. We want to acknowledge our amazing perfusion team and ECMO specialist nurses who played an impactful role in this case. 

In September 2020 and 2021, we trained two separate groups of these individuals and, because of their long-term management, this patient survived to leave our doors. We want to extend a sincere thank you to our ECMO trainers and everyone involved in the success of these classes. As a result, we’ve been able to build up this program and make all of this possible. 

Patient Admitted with Covid-19 Complications

McWilliams was admitted to the hospital on June 27, 2021, with Covid-19 complications. After initial hesitancy, he and his wife had just decided to receive the Covid-19 vaccination a week earlier. After he was admitted, he and his wife wished they hadn’t waited so long. Just days after McWilliams arrived at the hospital, he was admitted to the ICU. His wife thought that she would never see him again. 

Transitioning to ECMO

Weeks later, McWilliams was placed on an ECMO machine. He spent the next 91 days on the machine, acting as an artificial lung. McWilliam’s primary doctor was disheartened by day 30 because his lungs weren’t getting any better. Patients are typically placed on ECMO for 14 days with a 50/50 survival rate. Therefore, McWilliams’ case was rare, but a team of ten continued to care for him every day.  

An ECMO Success Story 

By mid-October, McWilliams began regaining the strength he once had. Throughout his case, there were many ups and downs, but he was released from the hospital just a couple of weeks after his 55th birthday. When McWilliams was first admitted, he couldn’t stand. 

His medical team gave him an official send-off, lining the halls and cheering him on as he was rolled out. Before he reached the exit, McWilliams stood out of his wheelchair to celebrate this massive milestone. This was the first time many of his healthcare providers saw him stand. Seeing him walking and going home was extremely emotional for the team of doctors and nurses because they fought so hard to get to that point. Read more about Nate McWilliams’ ECMO success story here.