LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 27, 2017) – More than 150 lives were saved this year, thanks to a record-breaking number of organs transplanted at the Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center, one of the leading providers of organ transplantation in the country. The center is a joint program with the University of Louisville School of Medicine and KentuckyOne Health.
The annual record for the most transplanted organs in the center’s 53-year history was broken on December 1, with 175 organs transplanted. As of December 27, 154 transplants have been performed and 187 organs have been transplanted. The transplant program is known for performing Kentucky’s first adult heart, pancreas, heart-lung and liver transplants.
“It’s a joyful time for us as we mark this milestone,” said Christopher Jones, MD, Program Director, Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center. “After all, the need for transplants is great. On average, 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant. So at the end of the day, it goes way beyond the numbers—it’s about the fact that we are giving more people their lives back, that we are keeping more families together longer.”
The center also achieved several other milestones already in 2017, including its 5,000th transplanted organ, its 3,000th kidney transplant and its 900th liver transplant. One organ donor can help up to seven people with a lifesaving organ transplant and many more with tissue donation.
Danny Stevens, 67, of Owensboro, vividly remembers getting the call on September 5 that a lung transplant was ready for him at the Trager Transplant Center.
“I was scared to death,” he said. “I was happy but I was scared.” He received his lung transplant on September 6, after being put on the transplant list on August 15. He had been given just months to live after he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease in which the lungs scar and harden.
His world changed dramatically following the diagnosis. “I went from playing golf to looking for lungs,” Stevens said. “But once I got up to Jewish Hospital, it was just a great experience. I don’t want anybody to have to go through that, but if you have to, I’d recommend anyone to go there.”
The number of organs transplanted has grown as the Trager Transplant Center has continued to strive to find new, more efficient ways to increase the number of organs available to patients and avoid a lengthy stay on the waiting list.
Living donors are a key aspect. The center offers the Living Donor Champion program, which helps those in need of a kidney transplant and their surrogate initiate discussion about their need. The center aims to make access to transplant care as easy as possible throughout the region, so its outreach has also expanded to include three transplant clinics in Lexington, Bowling Green and Crestview Hills in northern Kentucky.
The Trager Transplant Center is in the early stages of onboarding several new initiatives which will further enhance available capabilities, such as Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion and a Pancreas Disease Center
In addition to transplantation, Jewish Hospital Transplant Care is actively involved with efforts to increase awareness of the need for organ donation, in collaboration with Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates. Unfortunately, due to the lack of donated organs, many people never receive lifesaving transplants.
To learn more about the Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center, visit www.kentuckyonehealth.org/transplant-care.