HMC Receives International Recognition for Its Life Support Program, Becoming First Healthcare System in Region to Receive Distinction

Press release
Published June 24th, 2018 - 11:13 GMT
Dr. Al Kuwari and members of HMC’s ECMO team.
Dr. Al Kuwari and members of HMC’s ECMO team.

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has become the first healthcare organization in the Middle East, Western Asia, and Africa region to receive the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization’s (ELSO) Award for Excellence in Life Support (Gold Level) for its extracorporeal life support program. Also called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), the ECMO therapy is used as a last resort support system for the lungs or heart and has helped save the lives of around one hundred infants, children, and adults in Qatar since first being introduced at HMC in 2014.

The Ministry of Public Health commissioned the lifesaving program in 2013 in response to the MERS-CoV outbreak in the region. The MERS-CoV infection is associated with a high mortality rate due to the rapid onset of severe respiratory and renal failure. Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, congratulated HMC’s ECMO team on the award, noting that the technology is an example of Qatar’s commitment to providing patients with the world’s best care.

“In early 2013, the Ministry facilitated an ECMO partnership between HMC and UK-based Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS as part of our national MERS-CoV preparedness and response plan, and specifically the need to treat patients with severe respiratory illness. ECMO offers patients the highest level of life support and over the last four years, HMC’s skilled ECMO team has used this technology to treat some of the sickest and most severely traumatized patients. The ELSO award signifies Qatar’s commitment to bringing the world's best technologies and treatments to Qatar and it demonstrates to patients and families a dedication to providing the best care possible,” said Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari.

HMC’s Director of the Medical Critical Care Division and ECMO Program, Dr. Ibrahim Fawzy Hassan, said in addition to being one of the few healthcare systems in the Middle East region to use ECMO, HMC is also a regional training center for the technology.

Last year a group of medical experts in the country developed a first-of-its-kind mannequin to help train teams on the system. The ECMO simulation mannequin was conceptualized, designed, and built in Qatar.

“ECMO is a bridge to recovery for patients with reversible lung and heart failure. The ECMO machine acts as a temporary, artificial lung and heart and takes over the work of these organs while the body is allowed to recover with the help of other medical and surgical measures. This technology allows us to provide the highest level of care to patients with complex illnesses,” said Dr. Fawzy,

HMC’s extracorporeal life support program is ranked among the best in the region, a distinction that Dr. Fawzy credits to the ECMO team. He says HMC is honored to receive the prestigious designation that recognizes his team’s expertise in critical care and life support.

“Our extracorporeal life support program is a model for quality and I am very proud of the commitment of our whole team to ensuring its successful implementation at HMC. It is because of this team effort that we reached such a high level of achievement. This award is an affirmation of the continued hard work that the ECMO team and key support staff has done, and continues to do daily, to achieve our goal of providing the best possible care to patients. It recognizes the skill and dedication of our multi-disciplinary team of physicians, nurses, perfusionists, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, and critical care paramedics,” said Dr. Fawzy.

The Excellence in Life Support Award was presented to members of HMC’s ECMO team on 24 May. The award is for a three-year term and recognizes centers worldwide that demonstrate an exceptional commitment to evidence-based processes and quality measures, advanced education for staff, patient satisfaction, and ongoing clinical care. It also demonstrates an assurance of high-quality standards, specialized equipment and supplies, and defined patient protocols. Recipients of the Excellence in Life Support Award are designated as Centers of Excellence.

Background Information

Hamad Medical Corporation

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is the main provider of secondary and tertiary healthcare in Qatar and one of the leading hospital providers in the Middle East.

For more than four decades, HMC has been dedicated to delivering the safest, most effective and compassionate care to all its patients.

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