The milestone further solidifies Texas Children’s position as one of the most active pediatric transplant programs in the nation, per the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
“Texas Children’s transplant program is key to our medical and academic success,” said Executive Vice President Mark Mullarkey. “This really differentiates us and I can’t thank you enough for that.”
Transplantation began at Texas Children’s in 1984 with a pediatric heart transplant that was performed by Dr. O.H. “Bud” Frazier. Since that time, liver, kidney and lung have been added and countless lives have been saved. Just last year, 86 organ transplants were performed at Texas Children’s – 32 kidney transplants, 25 heart transplants, 21 liver transplants and 8 lung transplants.
The Transplant Team’s 1,500th transplant occurred on May 21 when 17-year-old Joseph McCullough received a new liver, giving him a chance at a new life after battling primary sclerosing cholangitis, a life-threatening disease that causes end-stage liver disease. McCullough was at last month’s celebration and thanked everyone in the crowd.
“When I was little, I loved Super Heroes. Today, I know who the real Super Heroes are and that’s you,” McCullough said. “I am honored to be up here to say thank you and that transplantation is a beautiful process.”
Other transplant recipients in the audience were Amelia Hicks and Carson Kainer. Amelia received a heart transplant when she was an infant. She is now a thriving kindergartener. Kainer received a kidney transplant at Texas Children’s as a young adult and became the first professional baseball player to play after an organ transplant.
“I got to live out my dream after my transplant because of you here today,” Kainer said. “Thank you so much for what you’ve done, what you do today and the lives you will impact in the future.”
When Dr. John Goss, medical director of Transplant Services and surgical director of the Liver Transplant Program at Texas Children’s, took the podium, he thanked all of the donors who make the transplant process possible and his team for making stupendous strides in a complex field.
“I want you to understand how special you are,” Goss said. “We do a lot of very complex procedures here and we’ve gone from doing about 20 a year to around 100 and I foresee us doing even more in the future.”