Lee Memorial Transplant Center receives bronze medal
The Lee Memorial Health System Transplant Center received a bronze level award for its one-year post transplant outcomes.
The qualifications for the award include a one-year graft survival rate after the transplant is done, transplant rate for the deceased donor only and the mortality rate after being placed on the wait list. Those who were awarded the gold had to meet all three criteria, the silver had to meet two criteria and the bronze had to meet one criteria.
The Lee Memorial Health System Transplant Center has one of the shortest wait times for deceased donor kidney transplants in the United States.
System Director Dave Mainous said local officials are pretty happy with the award because the center is one of 256 to be recognized in the top three.
“We are not a very large center,” Mainous said, adding that the award puts the facility “up there with the larger centers, so we are very happy with that.”
He explained that the award simply “recognizes us for all the hard work we do.”
The Transplant Center receives anywhere from 35 to 50 referrals a month, he said, with about half of those individuals being suitable for a transplant.
The center provides service for as far north as Sarasota and as far south as Naples, along with parts of the east coast. Mainous explained that he has seen an increase in the amount of referrals they have received from the east coast in the past 10 years from 2 percent to about a third of the referrals they received.
The closest center that has the same volume of transplants is in Daytona.
Mainous said it can be frustrating at times to receive referrals because the local unit is in the middle between larger transplant centers that are located out of Miami and Tampa.
“We could do more transplants if we could get some more referrals,” he said.
An issue that the Lee County program faces is that it is not included in the transplant network, which also affects the amount of referrals it receives.
The issue of kidney disease continues to rise, he said, which is mostly caused by diabetes. Unfortunately, Mainous said there is a lack of suitable organs in this country.
“The whole thing is that you can have referrals, but if you don’t have kidneys, you don’t have transplants,” he said.
Since the Transplant Center was built in 1990, it has performed a total of 702 transplants. There are currently nine people staffed in the office and 25 individuals who are contracted in when their services are needed.