Fernando Nino, an officer for the Palestine Police Department, is fighting for his life in a Tyler hospital after contracting COVID-19. Recovery is not expected from doctors, unless Nino is put on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine.
An ECMO machine provides prolonged cardiac and respiratory support to people whose heart and lungs are unable to provide an adequate amount of gas exchange or perfusion to sustain life.
Nino first tested positive for the virus on Aug. 30 after experiencing minor symptoms for some days, such as an itchy throat and a slight cough. Soon, he would experience constant fevers and fatigue.
According to the Palestine Police Department, Nino alternated between Tylenol and Ibuprofen, in addition to cold medication. For several hours, he felt better and carried on normally.
Saturday, Sept. 4, Nino experienced more severe coughing, making him want to rest more, the police department said.
The next day, Nino couldn’t walk without feeling out of breath and was coughing constantly. On Sept. 6, he was taken to the emergency room, where doctors found he had very low oxygen levels. He was put on oxygen and was sent home with an oxygen tank and an oxygen machine to use at home.
The next day, Nino’s oxygen levels were even lower, in the 70’s, and he was taken back to the hospital, this time into the Intensive Care Unit.
The Palestine Police Department said Nino had developed COVID-19 pneumonia, and had to be put on BPAP machine. Doctors have found a hole in his right lung and a blood clot in his left lung, quickly worsening his condition.
As of Monday, Nino was intubated and transferred to a larger hospital in Tyler and put into an induced coma because of insufficient oxygen in his system.
After four days in the COVID-19 ICU, Nino has continued to deteriorate. The police department said COVID-19 has left its mark and caused extensive damage to his lungs.
Unlike pneumonia, which affects certain sections of the lung, COVID-19 pneumonia affects all five lobes of the lung. The lung can no longer exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide.
There is a high demand for ECMO machines, especially in the south, and family and friends are asking for the public’s help to find a hospital that has an opening for Nino before it is too late.