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Midwest Transplant Network recovers organs from first donor patient at in-house unit

Kansas City, KS., – Midwest Transplant Network (MTN) recently cared for the first organ donor hero at its newly opened Donor Care and Surgical Recovery Unit (DCU).

The Unit, housed within Midwest Transplant Network’s Westwood, Kansas, headquarters — features a seven-bed intensive care unit as well as operating rooms designed specifically for both organ and tissue recovery.

Research Medical Center, part of HCA Midwest Health — Kansas City’s largest healthcare provider — worked closely with MTN to coordinate the transfer with the gracious approval of the donor’s family.

This milestone marked the start of a new process for hospitals within Kansas and western Missouri, MTN’s service area. Prior to the DCU’s opening, MTN staff members collaborated with hospitals to care for all organ donors and coordinated with transplant centers in the recovery of organs at the donor’s hospital. Now, authorized donor hero patients who meet specific clinical criteria may be eligible for transport to MTN’s DCU.

Transferring donors to MTN’s DCU will minimize the burden on hospitals by freeing up ICU beds, operating rooms, ventilators and critical care staff to care for other medically complex patients. Studies from other organ procurement organizations (OPOs) about this model have shown more organs are provided for transplantation due to the efficacy of the OPO donor care units.

“I am incredibly proud of all the hard work, research and planning our staff members and board have done over the past five years to create the DCU,” said MTN President & Chief Executive Officer Jan Finn, RN, MSN. “MTN foresaw a need to alleviate some burdens on much-needed hospital resources long before the coronavirus pandemic even hit. Now, we know we can provide highly specialized care from expertly trained staff members to our donor heroes and potentially more organs for those desperately awaiting lifesaving transplants.”

This shift comes at a time when OPOs like MTN nationwide are focusing efforts to improve donation outcomes. MTN is the 12th OPO in the nation with a donor care unit/donor recovery center that is not based in a hospital. MTN also implemented state-of-the-art systems with the installation of a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scanner and cloud-based technology with the ability to remotely connect with surgeons across the country.”

“We are honored to assist Midwest Transplant Network with families experiencing one of the most vulnerable times in anyone’s life,” said Research Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Olevia M. Pitts, MD, SFHM.

“Research Medical Center and Midwest Transplant Network have a rich history of working collaboratively for decades. Organ, eye and tissue donations save and heal many lives each year and we recognize, along with Midwest Transplant Network, the tremendous gift of life given by members of our community.”


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