Palestine police officer fighting for his life with COVID pneumonia, in need of ECMO machine

Local News

PALESTINE, Texas (KETK) – A Palestine police officer who tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 30 is now fighting for his life in a Tyler hospital.

The Palestine Police Department released the following information on Officer Fernando Nino:

After having an itchy throat and a slight cough for a couple of days, Officer Fernando Nino tested positive for COVID-19. His only symptoms were a constant fever and fatigue.

He alternated between  Tylenol and Ibuprofen in addition to cold medication. For several hours each the day, he felt better and carried on normally. Saturday, he had a couple of coughing fits which made him want to rest more. By Sunday, he couldn’t walk without feeling out of breath and having more coughing bouts.

The next day, he was taken to the emergency room with his O2 levels in the low 80’s. They put him on oxygen and sent him home with an oxygen tank and an oxygen machine to use at home.

The following morning, he woke up with his O2 levels in the 70’s and was taken back to the hospital. This time he was admitted into the COVID unit.

Officer Nino had developed COVID pneumonia and had to be put on a BPAP machine. His condition quickly worsened, and the doctors found a hole in his right lung and a blood clot in his left lung.

Unable to get enough oxygen into his system, the following Monday, Sept. 13, Nino was intubated and transferred to a larger hospital in Tyler and put into an induced coma. After four days in the COVID ICU, Nino has continued to deteriorate. COVID left its mark and caused extensive damage to his lungs.

Unlike pneumonia which affects certain sections of the lung, COVID pneumonia affects all five lobes of the lung. The lung can no longer exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Doctors do not expect officer Fernando Nino to recover unless he is put on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine.  An ECMO machine is an extracorporeal technique of providing prolonged cardiac and respiratory support to persons whose heart and lungs are unable to provide an adequate amount of gas exchange or perfusion to sustain life.

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 Officer Fernando Nino before it is too late. You can contact Michele Herbert at 903-922-9426 with any information.

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