Juan Zuniga, age 25, is a walking testament to the quality of care at University Health Shreveport.

Zuniga was shot during a robbery outside of his family’s restaurant in July 2017. He was rushed to the hospital’s trauma center, where LSU Health Shreveport doctors worked to save his life.

“He was as close to death as you could possibly imagine,” said LSU Health Doctor Keith Scott.

“He lost almost all of his blood,” said LSU Health Trauma Surgeon Dr. Navdeep Samra. “We had to rush him to the operating room right there to see what was bleeding.”

Zuniga’s lungs had been badly damaged by the gunshot wounds and loss of blood. Doctors removed his right lung during surgery.

The day after the shooting, Zuniga was connected to an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine.

The machine removes blood from the body, oxygenates it, and returns it to the body. This machine would give Zuniga’s remaining lung a chance to heal.

He had to be hooked up to the ECMO machine twice during his recovery. Normally, a patient is hooked up to the machine just once.

Doctors say the ECMO machine saved his life.

Zuniga and his family returned to University Health in March to return the favor.

The family made a generous donation so that the hospital can purchase more life-saving equipment for its trauma department. It was also a chance for him to reconnect with the men and women who worked to save his life.

“They mean a lot to me because they saved my life,” said Zuniga. “Without their care, I don’t think I would be here.”

University Health System and BRF are grateful to the Zuniga family for their generous donation to the hospital, and to the staff and doctors who cared for the Zuniga family during their stay.