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One of only 54 hospitals recognized worldwide

DANVILLE, Pa. – The Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) honored Geisinger Medical Center with the Gold Level Center of Excellence Award for care in life support. The medical center was one of only 54 hospitals worldwide recognized this year. 

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) provides life support for failing organs in infants, children and adults. It is one of the most advanced forms of life support available to patients experiencing acute cardio-respiratory system failure, and it allows time for a patient’s lungs or heart to heal by using a heart-lung machine to oxygenate the blood outside the body. 

The Excellence in Life Support Award recognizes centers that demonstrate an exceptional commitment to evidence-based processes and quality measures, staff training, continuing education, patient satisfaction and ongoing clinical care. Only 201 awards have been bestowed since 2019. 

“Less than 10 percent of U.S. hospitals provide ECMO services, so to be honored for outstanding care in this field is a testament to the tireless effort and dedication our providers have contributed to improving our ECMO program,” said John Conte, M.D., chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery for the Geisinger Heart & Vascular Institute. “We are honored not only by the recognition but also to provide best-in-class outcomes for our sickest patients.”

Since launching its ECMO program in 2013, Geisinger has improved the survival rate of ECMO patients from 50 percent to 65 percent, thanks in part to continual education and coordination among teams within the health system and outside institutions who refer patients to Geisinger. 

“It’s about getting everybody on the same page,” said Evan Gajkowski, certified critical care nurse and ECMO coordinator for Geisinger. “We have established best practices with every hospital in our system, our Critical Care Medicine and Cardiac Surgery programs, and even with fellow health systems who send us patients in need of extracorporeal life support. When everyone understands what makes a patient eligible for ECMO treatment, outcomes improve. And results like this would not be possible without the intensive care nurses, perfusion staff and ECMO specialists who are at patient bedsides providing excellent care every day.”

About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.


For media inquires:

R. Matthew Mattei
Senior Communications Specialist

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