In April, the hospital was officially approved for kidney transplant by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which is contracted by the federal government to manage the nation's organ transplant system. Physicians at the hospital say they already have a number of patients being evaluated for the transplant list and expect to do their first transplant before the end of summer.
“Adding this new program further validates St. Joseph’s as a leader in medical care,” says Patty White, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s. “We’re now able to provide the Valley with even greater expertise, in addition to our existing extraordinary neurological, thoracic, cancer, neonatal and trauma services.”
The kidney transplant team at St. Joseph’s includes transplant surgeons, nephrologists (physicians specializing in kidney disease,) transplant nurse coordinators, social workers, nutritionists, transplant financial coordinators and pharmacists.
White says the hospital will perform cadaveric as well as living donor transplants, explaining, “as obesity and diabetes continue to become more prevalent, kidney disease also is likely to become more common.”
According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in three American adults is currently at risk for developing kidney disease—major risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, family history and being age 60 or older. Once the kidneys fail, dialysis or a kidney transplant is required.
If accepted for transplantation, the patient is listed with UNOS to be matched to donor organs. The program will also work with other local organizations for potential living donor options.
Currently, more than 2,400 people in Arizona are waiting for an organ transplant and of those, more than 2,000 are in need of a kidney transplant. One organ donor can enhance up to 8 lives. Arizona residents can register to be an organ and tissue donor at www.DonateLifeAZ.org.
St. Joseph’s is one of four Dignity Health hospitals in Arizona—others include Chandler Regional Medical Center, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and the new St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center. The hospital already has a history with organ transplant. St. Joseph’s Norton Thoracic Institute is home to the Valley’s only lung transplant center, which is just seven-years-old and now one of the busiest of its kind in the Southwest.
Contact: Sara Baird, (602) 406-3312