Lee Health Transplant Institute Performs 10th Transplant

Program hit milestone eight weeks after opening

Media Note: Interviews are available with the Transplant Institute team and Ms. Odie-Ali.

(Fort Myers, Fla. – May 17, 2017) ---Since opening on March 20, the Lee Health Transplant Institute at Gulf Coast Medical Center has performed 10 successful kidney transplants. At the time the program reopened, Lee Health had 160 patients in evaluation for a transplant, and set a goal to complete 10 transplants by the end of the year. Twenty-one patient names were sent to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to be matched with an organ when available. The team now has 50 patients on the list for kidneys.

“We are very proud to hit this milestone,” explains Lynsey Biondi, M.D., program director and fellowship trained kidney transplant surgeon. “Ten local patients who had been living with end-stage renal disease now have hope and a chance for a healthier, more active, productive life. We are so proud of the work the team has done to comprehensively restructure the program so patients can get this life-saving and life-changing care close to home.”

Stella Odie-Ali had been going to dialysis three times a week for the past eight years and had been on the kidney transplant list for six. She had been matched with two kidneys during that time, but had to turn them both down for different reasons. In April, she received the call that there was a kidney available for her and a local transplant team ready to perform the surgery.

“This time, when I got the call that there was a kidney, I was fully prepared,” Odie-Ali says. “I had my support system in place and a wonderful team of highly-trained doctors and nurses who took care of me. I nicknamed my new kidney ‘Phoenix’ because we are rising stronger every day.”

The Transplant Institute team includes Dr. Biondi, as well as fellowship trained kidney transplant surgeon Jacfranz Guiteau, M.D., and fellowship trained transplant nephrologists Gautham Mogilishetty, M.D., and Shalini Saith, M.D. An administrative team, anesthesiologists, intensive care units, surgical progressive care units and others departments support the kidney transplant program. The Transplant Institute is significant for our community because it keeps patients close to home. There are only nine active kidney transplant programs in Florida.

About Lee Health

Since the opening of the first hospital in 1916, Lee Health has been a health care leader in Southwest Florida, constantly evolving to meet the needs of the community. A non-profit, integrated health care services organization, Lee Health is committed to the well-being of every individual served, focused on healthy living and maintaining good health. Staffed by caring people, inspiring health, services are conveniently located throughout the community in four acute care hospitals, two specialty hospitals, outpatient centers, walk-in medical centers, primary care and specialty physician practices and other services across the continuum of care. Learn more at www.LeeHealth.org

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