Skip to content




Edinburg, TX –DHR Health is proud to announce the first successful use of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), also known as extracorporeal life support, to save the life of a 57-year-old Edinburg, Texas woman.

Maria Dalcour was rushed to the Level 1 Trauma Center after suffering a massive heart attack on February 19, 2023. The following day her heart stopped, and the ICU staff restarted her heart, but she was progressing toward cardiac arrest again. The ECMO team had just minutes to connect the ECMO machine through plastic tubes in Dalcour’s legs to circulate her blood into the heart-lung machine, remove carbon dioxide, and send oxygen-filled blood back to the tissues in her body. Dalcour’s life was saved.

“It is the most sophisticated life-support technology in the world, and the device used at DHR Health is the same device used at the most prestigious academic centers in the world. Mrs. Dalcour is alive today because of the fast thinking, highly trained professionals at DHR Health and our new ECMO program”, said Dr. Andrew Phillips, Medical Director of the ECMO Program and Associate Medical Director of ICU at the DHR Health Level 1 Trauma Center. “It is difficult to explain how much this changes things for the most critically ill patients in the RGV who, as of last month, would have died. Instead, just 3 days after her heart stopped, Mrs. Dalcour was hugging her family and telling the staff her favorite local restaurants.”

DHR Health is the first and only center in the RGV with a comprehensive multidisciplinary ECMO program including a complete team of ECMO specialists, who are highly trained nurses and respiratory therapists who completed the gold standard education by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO).

The program’s success is also a tribute to the multidisciplinary and dedicated approach DHR Health embraces for its patients. She was first seen by Dr. David Loyola in the emergency department and rushed to the procedure lab where Dr. Herschl Silberman, chair of DHR Health cardiology, re-opened her main heart artery. DHR Health is the only hospital in the RGV with a critical care physician present 24 hours a day, and Dr. Juan Marcos Chavez Paz, chair of DHR Health critical care, was at her bedside when her heart stopped. Dr. Richard Clarke, anesthesiologist, stabilized her while Dr. David Heredia, interventional cardiologist, emergently placed the cannulas and Dr. Phillips initiated the ECMO machine. Night and day she was tended to by critical care physicians Drs. Federico Vallejo and Jayanth Lakshmikanth. Later, Dr. Amit Taggarse placed an additional device she required, the Impella 5.5, which is also only available in the RGV at DHR Health.

DHR Health is pleased to report that Mrs. Dalcour was taken off the ECMO machine just 4 days later and continues her recovery.

“The ECMO program is another example of how DHR Health is continuously delivering the latest technology to the area and addressing the emerging needs of our community. As the first and only established program within the region, we are giving patients a fighting chance never before had here,” said Dr. Phillips.

For more information about the services offered at DHR Health, please call (956) 362-8677, or visit our website at

About DHR Health
“Our mission is to improve the well-being of those we serve with a commitment to excellence: every patient, every encounter, every time.”

1 Comment

  1. Nando Garcia on March 26, 2023 at 12:45 am

    Congratulations to DHR for integrity and superior competency.

Leave a Comment