KHN On NPR

A Shortfall of ECMO Treatment Cost Lives During the Delta Surge

About 50% of the covid-19 patients who got the last-ditch life support treatment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center died. Researchers wanted to know what happened to the many patients they had to turn away because ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machines and the specialized staffers needed were in short supply. The grim answer: 90% of those turned away perished.

A closeup photo shows red tubes looping around an ECMO machine in a hospital room.

The Case of the $489,000 Air Ambulance Ride

Diagnosed with aggressive leukemia on a Western trip, a young man thought his insurance would cover an air ambulance ride home to North Carolina. Instead, questions about medical necessity left him with an astronomical bill.

Sean Deines sits at a table in his home with his wife, Rebekah, standing behind him with her hands on his shoulders.