Unique ECMO Unit Donated to MDA

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First ECMO Unit of its kind in Israel donated to Magen David Adom


The most significant medical emergency that pre-hospital staff across the world are called to, is cardiac arrest. Over the years, Magen David Adom has invested large efforts in this field, including placing defibrillators in public areas, specialist training for EMTs and paramedics in MDA’s emergency call centers (ECC) to provide telephone guidance, setting up first responder systems, and use of technological means.

In a joint venture between Magen David Adom and Shamir Medical Center, an additional support has been added to the pre-hospital cardiac arrest treatment response. It is a unique and first of its kind project in Israel, that allows an ECMO vehicle with specialist doctors, nurses and MDA paramedics to attend the scene of a cardiac arrest.

This team is dispatched to cardiac arrest events when the call is received in MDA’s ECC, along with MDA teams and first responders, and joins the cardiac arrest treatment by attaching the patient to a heart-lung machine (ECMO) during the pre-hospital stage. The temporary ECMO vehicle has been active since June 2023, and has been dispatched to dozens of cases.

In a moving ceremony held last week, a new ECMO vehicle, donated by French Jewry with the assistance of the MDA Friends Society in France was dedicated, in memory of Sergeant Nathane Hai Lyard Z”L, who made Aliya to Israel in order to serve in the IDF, and fell on October 7, at the age of 20. Sergeant Nathane Hai Lyard’s family attended the dedication, along with distinguished guests and the CEO of the MDA Friends Society in France.

The new vehicle has several unique characteristics: a wider working space, seats for providers on both sides of the patient, cooling and temperature controlling cabinets, advanced monitoring and airway equipment, securing units for the ECMO equipment, and electric cot that allows for easier movement of the patient, a space for the ECMO unit above the patient’s legs, adapted electrical units and more.

In a moving speech, Nathane Hai’s mother wished that the new vehicle would save lives, carrying on Nathane’s legacy, who fought to save the lives of the residents in the Western Negev on October 7th.

MDA Deputy Director General of Medicine, Dr. Raphael Strugo: “There is a group of people in cardiac arrest who, despite all the resuscitation efforts being undertaken as they should, we are unable to get their pulse back. The only thing that can save these patients is connecting them to a heart-lung machine. In most places around the world, including Israel, ECMO treatment requires taking the patient to hospital – this is very complex and with low success rates. Using the ECMO vehicle, it is possible to bring the heart-lung machine to the patient on scene, allowing much earlier attachment of these patients to the heart-lung machine, and significantly improves their chances of survival. We are constantly assessing in MDA ways to improve and update our treatments, in order to save as many lives as possible.”