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Organ Transplant Waiting Lists Not Limited to In-State Residents...Steve Jobs' Liver Transplant Showcases Travel Option for Organ Transplant
Date:6/23/2009

New Orleans' Ochsner Medical Center Offers Short Wait Times & High Survival for Liver Transplants

NEW ORLEANS, June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- (www.ochsner.org/transplant) - It's a little known fact that California resident and Founder/CEO of Apple, Inc., Steve Jobs, has brought to light: patients in need of transplants can be added to waiting lists in other states. New Orleans-based Ochsner Medical Center, which has some of the nation's shortest wait times and highest success rates, encourages patients nationwide to research their options when in need of an organ transplant.

Jobs reportedly underwent liver transplant surgery in Tennessee, over 2,000 miles from his California home, showcasing that residency is not contingent upon joining multiple, organ transplant waiting lists in other states. "Many patients don't realize they can be listed in several programs simultaneously and increase their chances of transplant, if they're listed in different regions of the U.S.," explains Dr. George Loss, Transplant Surgeon and Chief of Ochsner's Multi-Organ Transplant Institute in New Orleans.

According to UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing), who manages the distribution of organs in the U.S., there is no residency requirement for transplant patients. "On average, Ochsner's liver transplantation patients are made up of 60% Louisiana residents and 40% out-of-state residents," says Dr. Loss. Ochsner's median wait time for a liver transplant is 60 days and the one-year survival rate is 93.5% (National patient survival rate 88%).

"As more patients become aware of their ability to travel to receive a transplant, we hope the outcome will be additional lives saved and a renewed awareness of the gift of life, encouraging people to sign up to become organ donors," says Dr. Loss. The most important step an individual needs to take in order to become an organ donor is to make their wishes known.

In January 2009, Ochsner experienced its busiest month since the transplant program began in 1984, performing 30 operations in 30 days: 16 livers, 11 kidneys, 2 pancreases, and 1 heart transplant. "This marked increase over January 2008 can be attributed to a rise in organ donation awareness in Louisiana," explains Dr. Loss.

Since its inception, the Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Institute has performed over 2,700 life-saving transplants. It is a Medicare approved transplant center for heart, liver and kidney, a Center of Excellence for most insurers, carries the Blue Distinction Centers for transplant, and has hotel accommodations on the premises. For more information, call Ochsner's 24-hour Transplant Hotline at 1-800-643-1635.

The process for receiving an organ for transplantation includes:

  1. Visit a transplant hospital. For a listing, go to www.unos.org/members/search.asp.
  2. A doctor will examine you and decide if you meet that hospital's criteria for transplant. You can get on the waiting list at more than one transplant hospital.
  3. Your name will be added to a pool of names. When an organ donor becomes available, all patients are compared to the donor. Considerations: blood/tissue type, size of the organ, medical urgency, time on the waiting list, distance.
  4. The organ is offered first to the candidate who is the best match.


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SOURCE Ochsner Medical Center
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