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Patient Care

Word on the Street: When Your Medical Director Is Your Patient

Three months ago, triple board certified, Dr. Joseph P Ornato, operational medical director of the Richmond Ambulance Authority, Fire Department and neighboring Henrico Country Dept of Fire and EMS had a life-threatening episode. After a bout of pneumonia, Dr. Ornato suffered a massive pulmonary embolism, which triggered a sequence of events that saw him transported to his own Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital where he went into cardiac arrest, which led to cardiac surgery, ECMO and therapeutic hypothermia and into cardiac critical care. Three months on, Dr. Ornato has made a full cerebral recovery and is back at work.  

In this Word On The Street, he tells host Rob Lawrence his remarkable story from onset to recovery. In the second half of the program, Dr. Ornato discusses key issues in the recently published Institute of Medicine report Strategies to Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival: A Time to Act, which can be found at

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