WASHINGTON, D.C. — During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute performed more kidney transplants than any other hospital in the U.S., and successfully safeguarded all its transplant recipients and living organ donors, from contracting COVID-19.
From March to May MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute performed 115 organ transplants – 90 of which were kidney transplants with 23 of them from living donors. This record number is nearly equal to the total number of transplants performed by all regional hospitals combined.
In collaboration with MedStar Georgetown’s infectious disease team and the coordinated efforts across the MedStar Health System, the Transplant Institute took early and aggressive measures to implement the highest safety protocols to safeguard the health and wellness of vulnerable transplant recipients and living donors during the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Patients with organ failure are among the most vulnerable populations, and life-saving transplants are critical. While caring for patients with COVID-19 was an urgent mission, we could not abandon equally critical transplant patients. We surveyed best practices across the nation, evaluated which centers were surviving and which were not, and developed a systematic approach that was individualized for us. Working quickly and involving everyone from the top of the organization down lead to our success," Executive Director of the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute, Dr. Thomas Fishbein, said.
Many transplant programs around the country temporarily halted or significantly reduced the number of transplants they performed during this time. “It’s easy to say no,” said Dr. Matthew Cooper, director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation and a Professor of Surgery at Georgetown University School of Medicine, said. “We are fortunate that with the hard work of the Institute, the administration here at MedStar Georgetown, and the overall MedStar Health system, we were able to say yes to keeping the open sign up.”
The enhanced safety and infection prevention protocol included: priority COVID-19 testing for transplant recipients to rule out recipients who had the virus before they were transplanted, COVID-19-free units in the hospital to minimize infection risk for transplant patients, use of telehealth to reduce hospital visits for pre-screenings and post-transplant management and deploying travel nurses to patient homes for laboratory testing. These quick-actions reduced the risk of exposure before, during, and after transplant surgery.
A significant number of transplant patients traveled from various parts of the country for their life-saving care at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute.
MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute is headquartered at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and provides life-restoring care to patients with end-stage organ failure. As one of the highest volume transplant programs in the United States, the Institute has performed more than 7,598 liver, kidney, pancreas, small bowel, colon, stomach, and multi-organ transplants to date. Additionally, the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute offers outpatient kidney evaluations at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, and other locations in Maryland and Virginia.
About MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute-care teaching and research hospital licensed for 609 beds located in Northwest Washington, D.C. Founded in the Jesuit principle of cura personalis, caring for the whole person, MedStar Georgetown is committed to offering a variety of innovative diagnostic and treatment options within a trusting and compassionate environment. MedStar Georgetown’s centers of excellence include neurosciences, transplant, cancer, and gastroenterology. Along with Magnet® nurses, internationally recognized physicians, advanced research, and cutting-edge technologies, MedStar Georgetown’s healthcare professionals have a reputation for medical excellence and leadership.