History of SCC Fellowship

The fellowship was started by Dr. Robert Bartlett in 1984. As Professor of Surgery in the Sections of General and Thoracic Surgery, he developed the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship and the Extracorporeal Life Support Program starting in 1984.

Robert Bartlett's professional life has been characterized by exceptional vision, creativity, persistence, and energy. In 1969, Dr. Bartlett published an account of a membrane oxygenator that allowed partial bypass in animals for up to four days. The following year he described a simple, reliable membrane oxygenator for organ perfusion. In 1975, Dr. Bartlett successfully treated the first infant, a little girl named by the nurses Esperanza, meaning "Hope," with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO. Five years later the neonatal ECMO project moved with Dr. Bartlett from the University of California, Irvine, to the University of Michigan, where experience gradually increased from a few cases each year to several cases each month. He standardized the technique and exported his ideas throughout the world. By virtue of his extraordinary perseverance, many varieties of neonatal lung failure were changed from 90 percent mortality rate to 90 percent survival rate. Many thousands of infants have been saved by his extraordinary bioengineering and clinical innovation. Dr. Bartlett is currently Professor Emeritus of Surgery.

The program went through the ACGME accreditation process in 1990. In 2006, Dr. Lena Napolitano was hired at the University of Michigan to continue this important work in surgical critical care and manage the fellowship. The ICU was modeled into a closed ICU in 2006 and among other significant changes a specific algorithm was developed for the management of ARDS. Dr. Raghavendran took over as program director in 2013.

To this date we continue to receive referrals from different hospitals in the entire state of Michigan and adjoining states for management of adult patients with ARDS with severe hypoxemia. We continue to take part in well conducted clinical trials and offer various rescue strategies including ECMO for the management of severe refractory hypoxemia.

Robert H. Bartlett, M.D.
Professor Emeritus of Surgery
 
Lena M. Napolitano, M.D.
Professor of Surgery
 
Krishnan Raghavendran, M.D.
Associate Professor of Surgery