Transplant Success

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, four UT Southwestern patients waiting for organ transplants received much-anticipated news. The six organs the patients had been waiting for had become available, and the medical center’s Transplant Services team found itself in the remarkable position of performing four transplant surgeries in one day.
Within a 24-hour period, the team performed a heart transplant, single lung transplant, double lung/kidney transplant, and liver/kidney transplant. All patients are recovering well.
“A lot of programs would have turned down one or more of these transplants,” said Michael Jessen, MD, Professor and Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Transplantation. “It is great to be part of a team that can put this together for our patients and their families.”
Those involved in this herculean effort include Surgical Services, Department of Anesthesia, perfusionists who brought in their entire team for support, nursing staff in the units who accommodated the patients and the Operating Room team who made adjustments in order to perform four surgeries.
“A year ago we would have never dreamed of having a day like this,” said Juan Arenas, MD, Associate Professor and Chair of the Division of Surgical Transplantation and Surgical Director of the UT Liver Transplant Program. “It’s the constant attention to detail, hiring the right personnel, and always keeping a finger on the pulse that makes everything click when we need it the most.”
The Nov. 9 transplants brought the total performed in 2011 to 117, which include 45 lung, 30 kidney, 25 heart, and 17 liver transplantations, an increase of 10 over the total for the entire calendar year last year.
“It was a coincidence to have it happen on the same day,” said Lynn Fischer, Associate Vice President, Cardiovascular, Transplant, and Surgical Services. “There is an incredible amount of detail involved when patients are put on the waiting list and we were determined to see that each patient received this gift, no matter what it took.”