The team of seven Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital medical professionals stand outside the patient’s room to receive the latest update on the hospital’s seventh kidney transplant recipient.

Geraldine Zingraf nods in approval. “He’s responding very well,” the Transplant Program Administrator remarks.

Dr. Reynold Lopez-Soler, the program’s section chief, leads the group into the patient’s room and says to the 72-year-old veteran, “You did great, man. We’re going to get you out of here today.”

Since opening in November 2020, Hines VA’s Kidney Transplant Program has ramped up operations and now expects to exceed its yearly estimate in only a few months.

“We blew our projections out of the water,” Zingraf said. “When we first opened, our projections were that we would do 10 transplants in our first year. In less than six months, we’ve done eight.”

The Hines program is only the eighth VA Kidney Transplant Program in the country. Before opening, Chicago area veterans had to travel to either Pittsburgh or Iowa City, Iowa, for the nearest transplant evaluations and surgeries.

“Although transplant programs are nationwide, typically most patients can’t stay out of town for long periods of time, so transplants are not an option,” explained Zingraf. “There are so many patients that qualify for transplants in the Chicago area. Now they can get it done here.”

Zingraf credits the program’s quick success to not only a skilled surgical team but also its holistic approach to medicine.

“We do so much more on the outpatient side than the inpatient side,” she explained. “It’s a multidiscipline approach with constant communication. We have specialists in all the areas that can take care of the patient for any need that they may have — everything from their medication questions, dietary needs, psychosocial, and clinical issues.

According to Zingraf, by grouping all these individual disciplines into one team, the patient’s overall health and experience improved dramatically.

“Any patient at Hines can have these services individually, but when we bring them all together as a team, it can greatly affect the overall quality of care,” she said.

The program now hopes to celebrate its anniversary with 15 successful kidney transplants and continue to expand in the years ahead.

“This is a great service we give to our veterans,” Zingraf said, “and we look forward to growing by leaps and bounds.”

Veterans and their families can learn more about the VA transplant program at www.va.gov/health/services/transplant/.

Transplant News Sharing // “Kidney Transplants” – Google News from Source www.dailyherald.com

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