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Supporting Our Midwest Compassion

Expanding organ transplant program reflects patient needs

Supporting our Midwest compassionIn early 2015, a clinic opened in Wichita offering something unique to the area: an easier connection to The University of Kansas Hospital's kidney transplant experts.

Two days a week, physicians and staff from the Center for Transplantation in Kansas City travel to Wichita – an area that accounts for more than 60 percent of the center's organ transplant referrals – to meet with potential new patients and provide follow-up care for recent organ recipients.

"We wish to provide Wichita with the best and most compassionate care," said Bruce Kaplan, MD, medical director of the new clinic. "It is an honor to be able to serve the community."

Related link: Center for Transplantation – Wichita Kidney Transplant Clinic

Although surgeries are still performed in Kansas City, the new clinic illustrates our transplant center's expanding role in the Midwest, said Timothy Schmitt, MD, center director.

"As we continue to increase the number of lifesaving organ transplants, we want to ensure the program is convenient for patients who live far away," he said. "Providing continuity of care closer to their homes is a major part of that plan."

Working closely with Midwest Transplant Network, the hospital's organ transplant program helps more patients every year. The growth is due in part to Midwest compassion, where organ donation rates are among the nation's highest.

By the Numbers: Organ transplants

The transplant center team which encompasses more than 90 physicians, nurses and others, also is key, as are hundreds on staff on units 63-64, who care for patients after transplant surgeries.

The hospital's commitment to organ transplants is especially on display every April, which is National Donate Life Month:

  • National Blue & Green Day is April 17. While hospital staff don those colors, donor families and recipients, known as ambassadors, hand out carnations, cookies, Donate Life pins and more to hospital guests.
  • The hospital also hosts an annual Rose Ceremony, honoring the lives of donors from the past year.

The goal of the events: Raise awareness of organ donations and encourage more people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors at YesTheyWantMe.com.

"The hospital couldn't set transplant records without the help of all these wonderful people who provide inspiration to both donor families and recipients alike," Schmitt said. "They bring hope to people every day."