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Miracle Man Survives Deadly Virus With New Surgical Procedure

Miracle Man Survives Deadly Virus With New Surgical Procedure

Local Houston Man, Darren Pangle, Survives Rare Pneumonia Virus; Recently Saved At St. Luke’s Hospital

HOUSTON June 10, 2009 — In February, doctors and medical personnel at St. Luke’s Hospital were amazed at the results of an ongoing research project that saved the life of a 43 year old Darren Pangle. Headed by cardiologist, Dr. Pranav Loyalka, of St. Luke’s Hospital, a machine was attached via tubes surgically placed in his groin, to aide in the oxygen exchange in the lungs, which then provided time in the healing process of a mutant strain of pneumonia virus. This procedure, relatively new to the medical world, has a survival rate of only 38%.

“Mr. Pangle was very ill when he came to us, and would not have survived that evening without performing the ECMO placement procedure,” said Dr. Loyalka. “However, his age and his fitness background were major factors in the success of this procedure.”

Pangle, a well known local Personal Trainer, suffered from a flu related virus that mutated and became a deadly pneumonia. Within a matter of three days, it brought him to within three hours of death. From a hospital in northwest Houston, he was transferred to St. Luke’s in Texas Medical Center, and under the guidance of Dr. Loyalka, who then performed the ECMO procedure.
“It was overwhelming, and a last minute decision, but to see his O2 count go from 40% to 90% within minutes of the procedure was such a relief,” said Pangle’s wife. “Even though I was told to call family and be prepared for the worst, I put my faith in God and the good doctors.”

The ECMO involves the attachment of tubes to the deep veins in the pelvis and uses a pump to allow the exchange of oxygen from a machine and transport it back to the body. This allowed Pangle’s lungs to rest, and his body’s own defenses to defeat the virus. Age, and overall physical condition, played a vital, yet positive role in the procedure’s effectiveness. The doctors and staff call Pangle the “Miracle Man” because he literally came within hours of death. Pangle spent three weeks on the ECMO, and once it was removed, the virus was completely gone.

Pangle’s health improves daily. He’s since returned home, where he and his wife, run their own local personal training service. Pangle has over 24 years of experience in the fitness industry; 15 years working in the NFL & NBA and has trained a number of celebrities while living in Los Angeles. His website,, also supports the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation with a portion of the proceeds. Pangle is also helping Dr. Loyalka start a support group for those families that undergo this ECMO procedure.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Darren Pangle, please call Elaine Pangle at 281-639-4699, or email Elaine at [email protected]

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