Record 16 organ transplants performed at children’s hospital

Doctors at Stanford University’s children’s hospital performed 16 life-saving organ transplant surgeries in October, setting a new record for the center, officials said Friday.

Debra Strichartz, administrative director of the Pediatric Transplant Center at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, attributes the record to being able to receive remote referrals from outside doctors. In a statement, she said:

“We are broadening our ability to consult with physicians through telemedicine.”

She added:

“For example, we are conferencing with oncologists who have patients with rare liver tumors that require a very high level of transplant knowledge and experience.”

Doctors refer patients with especially complex transplant needs to the center, according to Strichartz.

Stanford surgery professor and chief of abdominal transplantation Carlos Esquivel said in a statement:

“Our ability to take on cases that would be rejected for transplant elsewhere is a credit to the level of expertise, not only of our surgeons, but the entire transplant care team.”

Hospital officials said that the most important factor in achieving the record number of transplants is the willingness of families to participate in organ donation.

Twice in October, a single donor provided four organs for transplantation, officials said.

Strichartz said:

“We can’t ever say enough of the importance of organ donation. There are often no words to describe its meaning on both ends, the family who donates and the patient who receives.”

Pediatric transplant surgeon and abdominal transplantation surgery professor Amy Gallo agreed. In a statement, she said:

“To be given the opportunity by these donors’ families to save all of these children in the past month – many of whom were very, very sick – is an amazing honor for us as care providers.”

Fernanda Coronado, a 14-year-old cystic fibrosis patient from San Diego, received a rare double-lung transplant at Packard Children’s in early October.

Fernanda and her mother, Mayra Coronado, moved to Palo Alto in March 2015 to await a transplant, hospital officials said.

Packard Children’s is the only center on the West Coast that performs double-lung transplants. In a statement, Coronado said:

“When our time came for transplant, it was a mix of emotions: relief, happiness, concern and sadness for that family.”

He added:

“Even after such a long wait, you’re never totally prepared when the time comes, but our team here at Packard Children’s got Fernanda as strong as she could be to go into transplant.”