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2nd quad transplant in two-year span
For the second time in less than two years, surgical teams at BWH transplanted two lungs, a heart and a kidney from a single donor into four different recipients on Saturday, April 20, 2002. It is believed that BWH remains the only hospital in the country that has performed this type of quadruple transplant.
This remarkable achievement, which ironically occurred the day prior to the observance of National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week, involved the surgical expertise and intense medical care of hundreds of clinicians at BWH. The quadruple transplant was highlighted at a press conference held in Carrie Hall Conference Room on Wednesday. Physicians involved in each of the four procedures were joined by patient recipients and members of their families to field questions from an assortment of media outlets.
“Few institutions are capable of this surgical accomplishment,” said Raphael Bueno, MD, associate chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at BWH, as he described the measures that were required to orchestrate four simultaneous operations in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 20.
Bueno and Jeanne Lukanich, MD, led one of the lung transplantations, while Yolonda Colson, MD and Steven Mentzer, MD led the other. Cardiac surgeon John Byrne, MD led the heart transplantation and renal surgeon Hugh Auchincloss, MD, led the kidney transplantation. All procedures began at 6 a.m. or after on April 20 and were completed by noon of the same day. Aside from juggling an OR schedule filled with trauma cases, the surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, surgical technicians, physicians assistants, perfusionists and a myriad of other clinical specialists were all called upon at a moment’s notice to assist with this outstanding assembly of operations.
“Everyone was pleased with how well the different surgical and medical disciplines came together to make sure that our efforts were not only well thought out, but precisely executed,” said Andrew Friedrich, MD, cardiothoracic anesthesiologist, who arrived at BWH at midnight on April 20 to begin planning for the procedures. He explained that clear communication, attention to detail and timing were crucial to the success of the quadruple transplant.
Post-operative medical care was provided to the patients on Tower 8B, 11C&D and 7B. Cardiologists John Jarcho, MD and Gilbert Mudge, MD; pulmonologists Charlotte McKee, MD and John Reilly, MD; and nephrologist Edgar Milford, MD oversaw the post-operative care of the organ recipients. Nurse manager Sarah Thompson, RN, MSN; nurse manager Mae Hansen, RN and assistant nurse manager Marie Krupar, MSN, MBA, CCRN; and Karyl Davenport, RN, MSN, led the four teams of nurses who mended the patients to a full recovery before their discharges.
“Although taking care of two lung transplant recipients at one time on the same floor set forth a tremendous challenge, the teamwork exhibited by the nurses on 11 C and D was exceptional. We are proud of their skills and performance in being able to provide such high level care with little notice,” said Krupar.
The patients are all doing well and enjoying a renewed sense of life thanks to the donor’s gracious family. Recipients include Dawn Hertzog, 38, from Richmond, ME (heart recipient); Trinity Breau, 60, Bellingham, MA (lung recipient); Evelyn Lewis, 48, from West Bridgewater, MA (lung recipient); and Harry Toole, 36, Boston, MA (kidney recipient).
“I thank the donor family for the chance at a more normal life,” said Toole, who, along with the other recipients, expressed his sorrow for the donor family’s loss.
“I’m so thankful for the chance of a future,” echoed Breau, who looks forward to many more years with her grandchildren. The night before the press conference Breau slept without oxygen for the first time in three years.
BWH performed its first quadruple transplant in August 2000.