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Preserving lives is her biggest passion

Lizelle Oosthuysen is a trained perfusionist who works with Getinge’s cardiopulmonary solutions and one of her main tasks is to support and drive treatment with ECMO. She loves to be part of supporting lives and enabling more patients to return home.

When South African Lizelle Oosthuysen joined Getinge about six years ago, she came with broad experience from practicing Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) therapy and a job title that tends to be a bit unfamiliar for many; perfusionist.

“A cardiovascular perfusionist, or simply, perfusionist, plays an important role supporting patients during extracorporeal circulation. Perfusionists are responsible for operating extracorporeal circulation equipment, such as the heart-lung machine, during an open-heart surgery or other medical procedures that requires artificial support or temporary replacement of a patient's circulatory and/or respiratory function, such as ECMO” tells Lizelle.

In her job, she always needs to be one-step ahead and predict what the patient may need. When the heart begins to beat again, in a surgical procedure, she describes the first beep on the monitor as an amazing sound. Her responsibilities are not limited to the operating room; she also cares for patients on ECMO in the intensive care unit.

“There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a patient go home, knowing that you contributed to their recovery.”

At Getinge, Lizelle is dedicated to make ECMO therapy available for more hospitals. In South Africa, she has helped establish a nation-wide ECMO society and Centers of Excellence at several hospitals.

“My focus has been to offer clinical support and conduct training on Getinge’s Cardiohelp device, to really show the clinical benefits and value that comes with ECMO. Many lives have been supported during this work, and there have been so many positive outcomes.”

Working close with health care staff in challenging situations, standing side by side with them and supporting lives, has made Lizelle see them more as friends than customers.

“You establish great relationships with these passionate surgeons, perfusionists, nurses and all other important roles that are doing everything for the patients, every single day. It’s fulfilling to be part of that journey, learning from each other and representing Getinge products and a company I love.”

Lizelle was also part of putting ECMO on the map in Namibia, Mauritius and Kenya.

“We widened the scope to the entire English Speaking Africa countries where this therapy is making a huge difference. Wherever we have rolled it out, the staff has been genuinely happy to have solutions for patients where most other hope was gone.”

Today, Lizelle has transferred to Getinge’s Dubai office to continue working with cardiopulmonary solutions where she continues to monitor countries where she and her colleagues can help make a difference by offering knowledge and solutions.

“It’s an amazing job to get to focus on developing therapies and supporting lives together with talented people. There are still many gaps to fill, many patients out there who desperately needs us.”

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This text is intended for an audience outside of the US.