Baylor University Medical Center Receives Award for Excellence in Life Support

Among elite group of U.S. medical centers to receive the international award for critical care program that saved hundreds of lives during the pandemic

DALLAS, Texas – Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, part of Baylor Scott & White Health, has received the platinum level award for Excellence in Life Support from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO).

Extracorporeal life support (ECLS), also known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, is one of the most advanced forms of life support for patients experiencing acute failure of the cardiac and respiratory systems.

ELSO’s Excellence in Life Support Award recognizes an elite group of medical centers – only 13 in the United States – that demonstrate an exceptional commitment to evidence-based processes and quality measures, continuing education for team members, patient satisfaction and ongoing clinical care.

"This ELSO platinum recognition reflects our strong commitment to innovation and excellence in our cardiovascular service line," said Michael Mack, MD, chair of cardiovascular service line for Baylor Scott & White Health and president and chairman of the board for Baylor Scott & White Research Institute. "Given the critical role of the ECMO program that has emerged during the pandemic, this impressive and timely accomplishment enabled us to quickly rise to meet the COVID-19 challenge."

The ELSO award underscores to patients a commitment to advanced patient care. It also demonstrates to the healthcare community a dedication to quality standards, specialized equipment and supplies, defined patient protocols and advanced education of team members.
According to the stringent ELSO guidelines, a designated Center of Excellence has demonstrated extraordinary achievement in three categories:

  • Excellence in promoting the mission, activities and vision of ELSO
  • Excellence in patient care by using the highest-quality measures, processes and structures based on evidence
  • Excellence in training, education, collaboration and communication supporting ELSO guidelines that contribute to a healing environment for families, patients and staff

"This level of international recognition cannot be achieved without an unbelievable team of healthcare professionals," said Gary Schwartz, MD, chief of thoracic surgery, Baylor University Medical Center. "The dedication, professionalism, and compassion that I witness daily from our nurses, perfusionists, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, and physical and occupational therapists are the only way this degree of excellence can be accomplished."

"Earning the platinum status for our ECMO program reflects the incredibly dedicated team of frontline caregivers, researchers, and administrators working together to provide advanced care and resources for current and future patients," said Dan Meyer, MD, chief of cardiac transplantation and advanced cardiac circulatory support, Baylor University Medical Center.

At Baylor University Medical Center, ECMO is performed by a team of highly skilled providers and nurses trained to provide extracorporeal life support. Patients treated with this method have a dedicated bedside nurse in addition to a second, specially trained nurse committed to the management of the ECLS machine. A physician trained in ECLS technology manages or co-manages each patient. The process allows the patient’s heart and lungs time to heal while the machine does the work for those organs, artificially oxygenating the blood and returning it to the body.

"This accomplishment is a testament to our team’s tireless work ethic," said Amy Wilson, MD, chief medical officer, Baylor University Medical Center. "Providing ECMO life support helps our community by offering another line of defense to save lives."

"Our commitment to patient care excellence is truly reflected in this recognition," said Karla Ramberger, chief nursing officer, Baylor University Medical Center. "This award recognizes the interprofessional team’s collaborative focus on delivering the highest level of quality care to our patients."

This accomplishment is made possible because of the integrated health care system – and Baylor University Medical Center receives transferred patients from other Baylor Scott & White hospitals throughout the state based on a patient’s higher level of care needed.

ELSO is an international not-for-profit consortium of healthcare centers and individuals dedicated to the development, evaluation and improvement of ECMO and other innovative therapies for support of failing organ systems. ELSO is a broad multidisciplinary collaboration of providers, nurses, perfusionists, respiratory therapists, technicians, researchers and industry experts. Global chapters of ELSO provide worldwide education and expertise in ECMO delivery. For more information, visit

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About Baylor Scott & White Health
As the largest not-for-profit health system in the state of Texas, Baylor Scott & White promotes the health and well-being of every individual, family and community it serves. It is committed to making quality care more accessible, convenient and affordable through its integrated delivery network, which includes the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance and its leading digital health platform – MyBSWHealth. Through 51 hospitals and more than 1,200 access points, including flagship academic medical centers in Dallas, Fort Worth and Temple, the system offers the full continuum of care, from primary to award-winning specialty care. Founded as a Christian ministry of healing more than a century ago, Baylor Scott & White today serves more than three million Texans. For more information, visit: