More than 100 BWH professionals were instrumental in completing BWH’s historical August 18 Quadruple Transplant, which included transplanting four separate organs from one donor into four different recipients. Setting the pace for the four simultaneous procedures were OR nurses and their colleagues in clinical areas, prep rooms and ICUs, who sacrificed personal time and pushed other priorities aside.
“The nurses shined through as the stars of the show. They prepared the ORs for the transplant procedures and adjusted all schedules and shifts to ensure that we had the appropriate teams of OR nurses and ICU capacity to take on four new transplant patients. All of this transpired while 111 other surgical cases went on as scheduled on August 18,” said David Sugarbaker, chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at BWH, who led the tireless BWH effort.
When Paul Glova, RN, one of the three OR nurses on the heart transplant team, arrived at work on August 18, he had no idea about the scope of what would occur.
“Everyone rose to the occasion,” said Glova, who is well practiced at heart transplants both here at BWH and at Cleveland Clinic prior to joining BWH.
Because groundbreaking transplantation is well practiced here, Glova admits “When you are in the middle of the transplant, it’s business as usual.” Glova then explained “It’s when you step back and realize what just happened in three other ORs at the same time, that you realize the magnitude of this surgical event.”
Glova explained the complexity of the heart transplant case. “The timing needed to be perfect. We couldn’t have the patient ready too early and not have the donor heart on-site and we couldn’t jeopardize the condition of the heart by stalling its transplant by falling behind in prepping the recipient,” he said.
Glova was the nurse responsible for the heart transplant case, which included interviewing the recipient, John Perry, 56 of Taunton.
“Mr. Perry was a very nice gentleman, who for some reason had a bad heart. He had a passion for fishing and mentioned he looked forward to resuming this passion after his operation,” said Glova.
The lives of Perry and three other patients awaiting two lungs and a kidney, were saved as a result of swift teamwork at BWH.
“It is a great part of my career to be a part of a team dedicated to saving lives like Mr. Perry’s. He now has a new lease on life with a new heart beating inside his chest. It is unfortunate that someone had to die to make all of this possible, but now at least four more people will live to see another day and appreciate how precious our lives really are,” said Glova.
The two cardiac OR nurses on Glova’s team were Gail Mahoney, RN, CNOR, and Barbara Guiffre, RN. The OR nurses involved in the lung and kidney cases were Pamela McCallum, RN, Pamela Dondiz, RN, Nancy Zevgolis, RN, Jeffrey Lanchester, ST, Pauline Powers, RN and William Like, ST. The teamwork and dedication of these individuals and their nursing colleagues throughout the hospital helped set the stage for future multiple transplants at BWH.