More than 40 patients received organ transplants
during March and April
DALLAS, Texas – As Baylor Scott & White Health resumes scheduling surgeries and procedures, the transplant team at Baylor University Medical Center marks a milestone: In one single weekend, a total of eight patients were able to safely receive life-saving organ transplants, thanks to new measures quickly put in place to offer a safe environment for all patients in need of care.
Living donor transplant surgeries, paused in response to executive orders from Governor Greg Abbott in March, are now being rescheduled.
"We would like to thank our communities, whose continued adherence to stay-at-home orders not only helped to stop the spread but also have now made it possible for our neighbors to begin receiving much needed medical care and surgeries that will impact their quality of life," said Giuliano Testa, MD, MBA, FACS, chief of abdominal transplant and chairman of the Baylor Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute in North Texas. "A special thanks goes to the donors’ families who, in times of great stress for themselves and the nation, still thought about offering the ultimate gift of life."
The team effort over the weekend included a collaboration among health systems, organ procurement organizations, patients and their loved ones to change the lives of eight patients. The series of organ transplants performed during the 48 hours included five single-organ transplants of the heart, liver and kidney and three multi-organ transplants: one patient received a double lung transplant, one patient received a kidney and liver transplant, and one patient received a heart and kidney transplant.
An internationally renowned destination for transplant care, Baylor Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute has a highly experienced team who provides comprehensive transplant services at two medical centers, Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth, with satellite care sites available throughout Texas for pre- and post-transplant visits closer to some patients’ homes.
Known for combining advanced clinical research and innovative approaches to provide quality results and outstanding transplant care to patients and their families, Baylor University Medical Center is one of the busiest multispecialty transplant centers in the world especially for complex cases.
Preparing for the Pandemic, Continuing Urgent Surgeries
In the early days of the virus’ impact on North Texas, the transplant team quickly adapted by creating safe workflows and pathways for all transplant patients, both the ones on the waiting list and the ones who had undergone organ transplantation. These pathways and workflows were created to offer the safest possible care environment for transplant recipients – all of whom receive immunosuppressants and are therefore at higher risk of quick disease progression if infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
The team continued to provide organ transplants to those patients experiencing the highest levels of acuity – meaning their lives were at risk if organ transplants were not performed in a timely manner. In fact, more than 42 patients received life-saving organ transplants at Baylor University Medical Center in March and April.
However, transplant surgeries for those patients with lower acuity conditions were put on hold temporarily as hospitals prepared for an influx of patients with COVID-19. Thanks to community efforts such as physical distancing, Baylor Scott & White was able to preserve more than 90% of hospital inpatient units for patients who needed care unrelated to COVID-19. Now, with the restrictions lifted, patients on the waiting list can begin rescheduling their living donor transplant surgeries.
"While we were able to continue offering organ transplants to our patients experiencing late stage organ failure, this lifting of the executive orders has given us the renewed ability to offer organ transplant to more patients in need." said Dr. Testa. "And now we are confident we can safely offer transplantation care to all patients in need, resuming all types of transplant including living donor liver and kidney transplants."
Safely Resuming Scheduled Procedures
Living donor organ transplants are one of many types of procedures now available throughout Baylor Scott & White Health. The health system has designed many enhanced precautions, including pre-operative COVID-19 testing, to ensure the protection of its patients and team members across the state. Through guidance from trusted physicians, nurses and operators, and by following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Baylor Scott & White has developed a plan to safely resume additional services to help avoid the unintended consequences of postponing healthcare.
Baylor Scott & White is directly contacting patients to reschedule living donor transplant surgeries. Patients who have any questions may call their provider or reach out to Baylor Scott & White through the MyBSWHealth app, which can be easily downloaded by texting BETTER to 88408.
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About Baylor Scott & White Health
As the largest not-for-profit health system in the state of Texas, Baylor Scott & White promotes the health and well-being of every individual, family and community it serves. It is committed to making quality care more accessible, convenient and affordable through its integrated delivery network, which includes the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance and its leading digital health platform – MyBSWHealth. Through 51 hospitals and more than 1,100 access points, including flagship academic medical centers in Dallas, Fort Worth and Temple, the system offers the full continuum of care, from primary to award-winning specialty care. Founded as a Christian ministry of healing more than a century ago, Baylor Scott & White today serves more than three million Texans. For more information, visit: BSWHealth.com