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Lee Health Reopens Kidney Transplant Program After Nearly Yearlong Suspension

Photo: Tareq Salahuddin via Flickr Creative Commons
Kidney transplant surgery.

This week the Lee Health kidney transplant program reopened as the Lee Health Transplant Institute at Gulf Coast Medical Center. One of just nine kidney transplant centers in Florida, and the only one between Tampa and Miami, the center has more than 150 patients waiting to receive a donated kidney.

The program was completely suspended in April of last year. That suspension came a year after the organization stopped performing "live donor" transplants, following the April 2015 death of Cape Coral resident John "Jamie" Donaldson, who bled to death during surgery while donating a kidney to his father.

For now, the revamped program is only performing transplants for organs from deceased donors. Doctors in the program say "live donor" transplants could resume within a year.

Wednesday at 1 p.m., director of the Kidney Transplant Institute, Dr. Lynsey Biondi, discusses how the program has been revamped and what its transplant services mean for patients in Southwest Florida.

Also joining the program is Dr. Gautham Mogilishetty, a nephrologist and medical director of the institute, sharing his expertise on kidney diseases and treatments.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
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