doctors take a photo

From left to right, Drs. Rafael Villicana, Michael de Vera, Michael Volk and Arputharaj Kore are some of the members of the transplant team who helped make the remarkable five days a success for the patients.

Ranging from 13 to 70 years old, eleven individuals are free of the anxious wait for a new organ to save their lives.  Thanks to the selfless act of families and individuals choosing to donate organs, a record-breaking streak of transplants for Loma Linda University Transplantation Institute was made possible.  

When organs become available, it’s go time. Surgeons drop what they are doing and rush to the hospital to perform these life-saving transplants. For each organ that is recovered, surgical teams must be assembled, operating rooms cleared, and no one from the transplant teams rests until the completion of these lengthy procedures.

Phones began to ring on February 27 with organ offers and peaked on March 1, with five patients and six organs transplanted within 24 hours. The surgical streak concluded March 3 with two organs transplanted. A 50-year-old received a donated liver and kidney, and ten individuals, ranging in ages from 13 to 70, received the gift of life through donated kidneys.

Ultimately, 11 patients received transplants and a new lease on life within five days.

These transplant surgeries set two new records for LLU Transplantation Institute: most solid organs transplanted within five days and most organs transplanted within a 24-hour period.

"While the availability of organs is unpredictable, we are prepared to meet this high demand,” says Michael de Vera, MD, director of the Transplantation Institute. “We're so thankful to the physicians and staff at the Transplantation Institute as well as the Medical Center, including the staff of the operating rooms, units 8100, 4700 and 4100, and other services.

“Transplant is a teamwork specialty, and these patients can't get served without everyone's help and commitment.”

The surgeons performing the transplants were de Vera, Arputharaj Kore, MD, Philip Wai, MD, and Pedro Baron, MD.

The LLU Transplantation Institute performs pancreas, liver, kidney, liver/kidney, and heart transplants.

Learn more about the Transplantation Institute. 

Melissa Robinson contributed to this report.