Flu-related deaths are on the rise in Connecticut, and a local hospital is using a special machine to help save lives.
A total of 63 people in Connecticut have died from the flu, and doctors are working to prevent more deaths from happening.
Hartford Hospital has what's called an ECMO, which helps those with respiratory problems heal and get better.
Doctors at Hartford Hospital say it can be one of the most important tools to save lives.
“We have a technology called ECMO, or ‘extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.’ What it does is essentially allows the body to rest and not have to add oxygen,” said Dr. Jason Gluck.
The flu takes a toll on the entire body, including our lungs.
A ventilator can help but the ECMO takes over when that may not be enough.
It takes your own blood through a tube in your leg, and puts oxygen back into your own blood and then back into your own body. The ECMO allows the lungs to rest.
Doctors say the machine saved Luis Cordeiro's life.
"They told my wife I had a 10 percent chance to survive. I am here two years later, back to work, everything is back to normal,” Cordeiro said.
He developed the flu and pneumonia and was on the machine for several days.
"The night before he was in bed coughing, with a little bit of difficulty breathing, I suggested he stay home and get checked out. He said I’ll be fine, it's just a cold,” said Luis’ wife, Victoria Cordeiro.
Luis has made a full recovery, and now gets regular flu shots and some other advice.
“This is nothing to play with. If you are sick, please get to a hospital,” Luis Cordeiro said.
An advantage to the ECMO is it’s also mobile. It can be transported to other hospitals, and Hartford Hospital says they were seeing 50 percent of those admitted with flu like symptoms. That number has been going down.
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