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COVID-19 patient gets help from across the U.S. thanks to Navy SEAL brother-in-law

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL) — An incredible series of events recently unfolded for a man from Ruston, Louisiana, who is now a COVID-19 patient at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport.

“It’s an amazing story of a network coming together to save a life,” says Ryan Senn’s brother-in-law Jon Macaskill.

Macaskill is a retired Navy SEAL Commander and the one who initiated the call for help.

In early November, Senn came down with COVID-19. He was in need of convalescent plasma — something the hospital he was at in Ruston could not provide.

Senn received the plasma treatment in Shreveport and was making progress. Last week that changed.

“12:45 a.m., the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I get a call from my sister, and Ryan has taken a turn for the worse,” said Macaskill. “And he needs to be put on a machine called an ECMO machine.”

The machine basically does the work of a person’s lungs for their body by infusing oxygen into the blood.

Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, many of the ECMO machines at Ochsner LSU Health were in use.

Macaskill wanted to make sure an extra one was on hand for his brother. That’s why he made the call.

“I put a picture that said ‘Help Me’ on LinkedIn and the story of where we were at the time,” said Jon.

His special operations and professional network responded.

“I mean it spread like wild fire,” said Macaskill. “Hundreds of thousands of people saw it within that first day.”

It had a medical transport company out of New York City locating an ECMO in New Jersey.

“As we located a machine, I updated the post. And then people providing unique air transportation ended up locating a flight,” said Jon.

The effort securing the machine now playing out in real-time on social media.

“Thousands of people that I don’t know were reaching out trying to offer support,” he said. “Offering prayers. Offering anything that they could.”

Within hours the machine was on a plane making the nearly 1,400 mile flight to Shreveport.

“It flew into Shreveport that evening, and as soon as we found out we had a machine and we had a flight then Ryan was able to be put on the ECMO machine,” said Macaskill.

All of this happening on the busiest air travel day of the year.

“It was a timely miracle in that it was the day before Thanksgiving.”

Senn’s condition has stabilized, but he’s not out of the woods.

Senn’s wife, Sharon, knows what the fight against COVID-19 entails because she’s an ER nurse. She’s had to leave her job to care for the couple’s kids, so Macaskill is putting out another call for help.

You can make a donation here to help with the family’s medical expenses.

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