Loyola Transplant Surgeon Says Living Donors Help Fill Need for Organs
Friday, March 9, 2018

Loyola Medicine Surgeon Raises Living Donor Awareness at Chicago Organ Summit

MAYWOOD, IL – Loyola Medicine transplant surgeon Raquel Garcia Roca, MD, participated on a panel of transplant specialists who spoke about living donor organ transplants during the 2018 Chicago Organ Summit on Thursday, March 8.

Loyola Medicine has performed nearly 700 living-donor kidney transplants and recently performed its first living-donor liver transplant.

In the United States, more than 100,000 kidney patients are on the transplant waiting list, but last year, fewer than 20,000 patients received transplants. Patients can wait five years or longer for a transplant from a deceased donor, and many patients die before an organ becomes available.

 Dr. Garcia Roca (pictured at the Chicago Organ Summit with Kevin Cmunt, CEO, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network) said living donor transplants can help relieve the shortage. She noted that donors are carefully screened and undergo a rigorous process of education and evaluation by a team of physicians and donor advocates.

 After donating one kidney, a living donor can live a long and healthy life with their remaining kidney. "Donors are often surprised to learn that our minimally invasive techniques result in little pain, a speedy recovery and very small scars," Dr. Garcia Roca said. "They typically go home after one night in the hospital."

 Last year, Loyola performed a three-way living donor kidney transplant chain on the same day. It began when an altruistic donor, Terri Thede, donated a kidney to a man she had never met, William Parra. Mr. Parra's wife paid it forward by donating a kidney to Vitalii Stasiuk. Mr. Stasiuk's mother paid it forward by donating a kidney to Irene Zapata.

 "Loyola has the resources and experience to successfully complete such a complex and challenging endeavor," Dr. Garcia Roca said.

 Loyola offers the highest level of integrated care for patients with kidney disease and kidney failure who are candidates for transplants. Loyola takes on the most challenging cases, including patients who have been turned down by other centers.

 The Chicago Organ Summit was sponsored by the city of Chicago, Illinois Secretary of State and Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network. The summit brought together city and state officials and leaders from Chicago transplant centers and hospital systems, who shared how together they will transform Chicago into the nation's transplant hub. Gift of Hope coordinates organ and tissue donation in the northern three-quarters of Illinois and northwest Indiana.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.