Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in Temple set a record.
Even balancing the added demands of COVID-19, doctors were able to help nearly 200 patients receive lifesaving organ transplants in 2021. This is a 25% increase from their previous record, which was established in 2017.
Abilene’s Kevin Allen was one of 167 kidney transplant patients at the medical center last year. He and his wife, Linda, explain their reaction when they were told that Kevin needed to undergo dialysis and be put on a transplant list.
“We were floored. We had no idea things had gone wrong so quickly,” Linda explained.
People often wait years to find a donor, but Linda wondered if she would be a match. She was tested and the results were positive.
“We couldn’t believe it. We are people of faith, and that was just an answer from God.
Then, Linda said, they had another miracle. When the doctors announced the date of the operation, it was on his birthday.
“What were we like?! It’s my birthday. Yes! Yes! We just jumped up and down and cried and prayed.
Baylor Scott and White Medical Center – Temple says there are several reasons for the increase. Among them: increased staff, the creation of several donor matching programs, and a program called “Amy’s House” which provides out-of-town patients and families with a place to stay while they receive care.
“Central Texas is one of the fastest growing areas in the country and I think that’s just a demonstration we’ll be doing,” said transplant director Dr. Tun Jie.
The center had patients come from different parts of Texas, and even different parts of the country to get a transplant. A patient traveled from Los Angeles. In a press release, Baylor Scott and White-Temple say it is attracting many patients because of its shorter wait times (https://news.bswhealth.com/en-US/releases/a-new -record-nearly-200-patients -received-a-kidney-or-pancreas-transplant-at-baylor-scott-white-medical-center-temple-in-2021). According to the transplant center, her waiting time is 11 months. According to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, other transplant centers in Texas and Oklahoma have a median time to transplant of 43.8 months.
The increase in transplants at Baylor Scott and White—Temple also reflects a national trend. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) reported over 40,000 organ transplants in the United States in 2021 (https://unos.org/news/2021-all-time-records-organ-transplants-deceased- donor-donation/) . It is a national record. UNOS says the increase comes from an increase in the number of deceased donors. This is the 11th consecutive year that this number has increased.
Kevin Allen says he now feels like a new man. His wife says it was the best birthday present they could have received.
“Do you know how to thank someone for that?” For the gift of life? You just can’t”