Dr. Kapil Lotun | Director of the Cardiovascular Service Line
When retired Tucson fire department paramedic and St. Mary’s Hospital EMT Larry Delfs left St. Mary’s Hospital 43 days after he was first admitted, his farewell was accompanied by cheering from a team of doctors and medical staff that helped him to overcome his very serious case of COVID-19.
While in the hospital, Larry was placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to help with his oxygenation and cardiovascular support. The machine pumped his blood outside his body to give his heart and lungs a rest.
Dr. Kapil Lotun, director of Carondelet’s Cardiovascular Service Line, was part of Larry’s care team. “If we had not used the ECMO device when we did, Mr. Delfs may not be alive today,” Dr. Lotun said in a recent press release.
In the spirit of teamwork between two of the network’s hospitals, Carondelet administration arranged for Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital nurses Maricris Tallant, Maria Garcia and Jella Laquindanum to travel to St. Mary’s Hospital to provide support and education on the ECMO device.
“This success story was a great team effort,” Dr. Lotun said. “All the nurses, respiratory techs, and intensivists were the real heroes, at the bedside 24/7.” He added that it is nothing short of a miracle that Larry survived.
“They have been a true family to us,” Larry’s daughter Kristin Baker told KVOA News 4. “They have taken care of our dad with the utmost respect and love.”
Larry’s family would often call him “Superman” for his 25 years of being a paramedic and working as an EMT at St. Mary’s. To recognize this, his care team wore Superman shirts during his send off.
Larry is now at a long-term care facility focusing on rehab and completing his recovery.
Pictured: St. Mary’s healthcare workers, administration and spiritual care department with Larry’s family