Schmitt says the hospital's organ transplant program has a dedicated team of surgeons, internal medicine organ specialists, anesthesiologists, nursing staff and others to ensure excellent outcomes."The University of Kansas Hospital Center for Transplantation has built an experienced team that can handle anything," he said. "We put the patient's needs first and organize our whole approach from evaluation, to operation, to follow up, with activities aligned to provide both the highest level of efficiency and through this, maximize the outcomes for our patients." The University of Kansas Hospital is a leader in solid organ transplantation and is one of the Midwest region's most successful liver, kidney, and pancreas transplant programs. In addition to the 1,000th liver transplant since the program began in 1990, the hospital's first kidney transplant was performed in 1969 and since then, the center has performed more than 1,900 kidney transplants and nearly 150 pancreas transplants. The hospital recently announced plans to establish a heart transplant program in an effort to offer the continuum of care to all heart patients and to better align with its mission for establishing a comprehensive center in solid organ transplantation of all major organ groups. When faced with the need for an organ transplant, choosing a hospital is one of the most important decisions a patient will make. In addition to seeking guidance from their primary care physician, patients should research hospitals that specialize in their transplant need, gathering information on wait times and outcomes. Patients should consider several factors, including the following:
- Wait Times – Many people think that organ wait times are the same for every hospital. That's not the case. In fact, wait times are publicly available on the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients website.
- Insurance Coverage – Organ transplants are expensive procedures. One key consideration for patients is to ensure that they choose a hospital that is in-network. Patients may want to call their insurance company in advance to find out coverage details on transplants.
- Staff Experience – An organ transplant is a serious and potentially life-saving procedure. Even new program may have staff with years of experience with excellent outcomes. Patients should ask about the record of the hospital staff in all organ transplant procedures.
- Location – It's important to consider how easy it will be for you to access your transplant hospital. Not only will you need to easily access the facility for your transplant, but also for the follow-up visits that are needed after the procedure as well as access for family members.
- Patient Recommendations – Are there other patients and family members that are willing to talk about their experiences? With the growth of social media, it may be easier to find transplant patients and family members who can provide thoughts on their experiences.
- Additional Research - Patients, their families, their physicians and the insurance companies must consider nationally available data on waiting times, the personnel, the hospital systems and the program's outcomes when determining where they should go.