Confronting the transplant crisis: HCA Healthcare leads nation in live donor kidney transplants

Ophthalmologist performing surgery on a patient

While COVID-19 has posed unique challenges for organ procurement and transplantation, HCA Healthcare’s transplant centers have spent the past few months using their collaborative culture to improve more lives in more ways. This dedication is not new.

Over the years, the immense experience of our transplant teams has led to survival and a better quality of life for thousands of HCA Healthcare patients. In 2019, HCA Healthcare proved a frontrunner in this highly complex and important area of medicine for the second year in a row, leading the nation in live donor kidney transplants. Learn more below…

Living donation has revolutionized kidney transplantation, sparing patients a long and uncertain wait on the transplant list.  According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), HCA Healthcare led the nation in 2019, performing more live donor kidney transplants than any other hospital system in the country.

Man in suit and tie. Headshot of Dr. Adam Bingaman.
Dr. Adam Bingaman, national medical director of solid organ transplant at HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare facilities performed a total of 418 live donor kidney transplants in 2019 – a 12% increase of lives saved from the previous year. Recognizing national transplant wait list trends reflected high demand and low supply, our teams worked vigilantly to maximize the number of transplant options available to our patients.

“This is an amazing accomplishment made possible through our collaborative network, dedicated doctors and selfless donors,” explains Dr. Adam Bingaman, national medical director of solid organ transplant at HCA Healthcare and director of abdominal transplant at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital. “There is such a need for live kidney donor transplants. We are proud to play a part in serving that need and giving people a healthier tomorrow.”

HCA Healthcare’s Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital is home to the largest live donor kidney transplant center in the world. This program accounts for approximately half of HCA Healthcare’s living donor kidney transplants. In 2019, the San Antonio, Texas-based hospital completed 231 live donor kidney transplants and set a record for the most performed at a single center.

Did you know?

1 in 3 adults in the United States is at risk for chronic kidney disease, and nearly 100,000 people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Kidney transplants save and improve the lives of people with kidney failure.

Enhanced transplant efficiencies, more lives saved

Members of the transplant team at Medical City Dallas
The transplant team at Medical City Dallas, with Dr. Matt Mulloy on the far right (Note: photo was taken prior to COVID-19).

Racing to save more lives, HCA Healthcare’s transplant programs collaborate on best practices and glean insights from across our organization. We’re continually identifying challenges and opportunities to improve patient outcomes at scale.

In a commitment to improve the efficiency of their live donor program, Medical City Dallas has rapidly grown into one of the largest transplant centers in the HCA Healthcare network. Under the guidance of Dr. Matt Mulloy, surgical director of abdominal transplant surgery, the program has seen a 310% increase in transplants performed in just three years. This success can be attributed in large part to growing a team specifically skilled in quality patient care, community engagement and patient education.

Man in suit and tie wearing glasses. Headshot of Dr. Matt Mulloy.
Dr. Matt Mulloy, surgical director of abdominal transplant surgery at Medical City Dallas

“I take great pride in the number of transplants we do, because that translates into the number of lives saved,” says Dr. Matt Mulloy, surgical director of abdominal transplant surgery at Medical City Dallas. “Living donor transplants are really an incredible thing. While we work hard to provide superior patient-centered care throughout the exchange process, the donors are the real heroes.”

Consider becoming a living kidney donor

With the help of a skilled and passionate team of diverse specialists, living donation is a safe and beautiful process. Donating a kidney is not without risks, but for many, the risks are minute compared to the lifesaving benefit the recipient receives.

If you are interested in finding out more information about becoming a living donor, visit United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

HCA Healthcare uses the most advanced technology and medical innovations to provide individualized ongoing care for kidney transplant patients. Learn more about the live kidney donor process below:

Did you know?

Every year, 6,000 people make the decision to be a living kidney donor in the U.S.

HCA Healthcare specializes in kidney transplants, living kidney donation and paired exchange kidney transplants at:

Liver transplants give pediatric patients a second chance at life

Man wearing glasses and blue scrubs. Headshot of Dr. Thomas Heffron.
Dr. Thomas Heffron, pediatric liver surgeon at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children

For pediatric liver surgeon Dr. Thomas Heffron, his calling is simple. “I love pediatric work,” says the Denver, Colo. physician. His bold care philosophy is to “enable every pediatric patient with end stage liver disease a cure with liver transplant.”

Heffron heads up Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children’s pediatric liver transplant program. The highly specialized program provides patients across the country with access to complex hepatobiliary surgery as well as transplants. Having transplanted both the youngest and smallest child in the world, Dr. Heffron is internationally recognized for his clinical expertise.

Completing over 600 pediatric liver transplants throughout his career, including over 100 living donor transplants, Dr. Heffron’s affinity for his work shines through with every patient interaction. Just ask Carina Jimenez.

Two year old with a plate of food
Carina Jimenez, pediatric liver transplant patient, at age 2

At age 2, Carina was diagnosed with biliary atresia – a condition in which defects of the bile ducts prevent bile in the liver from draining properly. The condition leads to severe liver damage and is life threatening. But Carina is living a full, health life thanks to a liver transplant performed by Dr. Heffron almost 20 years ago.

“I’ve never felt my life has been impacted at all by my liver issues,” says Carina, now a 22-year-old college student. “I’ve always been active in sports and fitness. I’ve run two half-marathons, am studying to become a speech/language pathologist and work two jobs. I don’t think there’s anything I can’t do because of my condition.”

Young woman wearing a 21st birthday tiara
Carina received follow-up care and treatment from Dr. Heffron throughout her childhood and is now a thriving 22-year-old college student.

Carina received follow-up care and treatment from Dr. Heffron throughout her childhood and continues to take anti-rejection medication daily.

“I understand that liver transplant can be scary,” says Carina. “But families need to know that children can fully bounce back from transplant surgery.”

To Carina and all of our brave transplant patients, thank you for allowing us to be a part of our care – and your future.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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