The Mater Children’s Hospital is celebrating the success of a piece of equipment that has helped at least 60 patients survive life threatening illnesses.

The machine, dubbed ECMO, provides cardiac and respiratory support for babies and young children.

Georgie Chumbley reports.


These smiling faces highlight the success of ECMO, which is celebrating its third birthday at the Mater.

Most of these young patients have benefited from the use of ECMO, which stands for Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Dr Sylvio Provenzano, Mater ECMO Specialist : “What ECMO does is basically gives time for either the heart or lung to recover for severe disease, acute disease.”

One such case is William Morrison, whose parents were told less than four months ago, he was “the sickest boy in Queensland”.

When a blood test revealed he was anaemic, William was rushed to the Mater Children’s Emergency, and diagnosed with leukaemia.

That’s when the life support system came into its own.

Warwick Morrison, William’s father: “ECMO, for our family, has given us Will back and the opportunity for Will to fight his cancer, so it’s the most amazing gift you could ever receive from anybody or any group of people.”

The Mater Childrens Hospital ECMO machine saves the lives of more than 60 per cent of children put on it, who otherwise wouldn’t survive.

A Mater spokeswoman says the success of the technology will make it a key part of the new Queensland Children’s Hospital, which opens in three years time.

Georgie Chumbley, QUT News.