For most of us, a change of heart takes some time. But for the team of Stanford medical professionals at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, a change of heart - plus two livers and two kidneys - can happen in less time than it takes to ease into the workweek.
Five organ transplants in twenty-four hours is no typical feat for this Stanford hospital. Though medical teams at Packard Children's Hospital perform about 70 liver and kidney and 15 heart transplants a year, they had never attempted this many organ transplants in a single day.
Since donor organs are scarce, medical teams must be ready to perform an organ transplant (or five) at a moment's notice. In the most recent issue of Inside Stanford Medicine, Robert Dicks explains the extraordinary circumstances and determination leading to this surgical marathon. From the piece:
"This was the ultimate demonstration of the passion we have for healing children through transplant," said [Waldo Concepcion, MD, professor of surgery], who once led five kidney transplants in two days. "Care teams throughout the hospital immediately got into it. Experience matters, and they all put in lots of extra hours in order to ensure everything would go smoothly."
Concepcion also noted that other surgeons postponed scheduled cases to make room for the transplants. "It was impressive but not surprising," he said. "Everyone was thrilled to see so many transplants save so many lives in such a short period of time."
Holly MacCormick is a writing intern in the medical school’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs. She is a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology at University of California-Santa Cruz.
Previously: The mystery surrounding lung transplant rates, Film about twin sisters’ double lung transplants and battle against cystic fibrosis available online and Pediatric social worker discusses the emotional side of heart transplants
Photo of members of the transplant teams by Robert Dicks