Five transplants were performed simultaneously: heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. A marathon session took place yesterday at IRCCS ISMETT, the hospital in Palermo (Italy) managed by UPMC. This effort saw the involvement of 4 medical and surgical teams, over 50 health care providers, and 4 operating rooms, all working simultaneously to transplant 5 patients on the waiting list. An extraordinary event, even more so due to the current health care emergency. “Five simultaneous transplants require organization, teamwork and coordination between our staff, the intensive care units of other hospitals, and ARNAS Civico Hospital’s Blood Bank. This is a further proof of how the Coronavirus emergency has not stopped Sicily’s regional transplant network, which is still operating successfully, completing the donation-transplant process and meeting the needs of patients on the waiting list,” said Dr. Angelo Luca, CEO of ISMETT. “A total of 57 transplants have been performed at ISMETT since the beginning of 2020. In 2019, thanks to the commitment of the Regional Health Commission promoting organ donation in Sicily and with the precious support of CRT [Trans. Note: Sicilian Regional Transplant Center], ISMETT has performed 170 transplants, including 32 living donor transplants, and many of these patients arrived from other Italian regions or from abroad.”
In this specific case, the five transplants were made possible by a donor at Giglio Hospital in Cefalù (near Palermo). The donor’s heart, liver and kidneys were transplanted in four Sicilian patients.
The lungs went to a patient from the Region of Apulia, who arrived in Palermo on a military flight made available by the Italian Air Force. “There is no doubt that in the light of the current health care emergency,” said Ruggero Razza, Sicily’s Regional Healthcare Commissioner, “what took place over the past few hours in Palermo is even more valuable and extraordinary than it would be under normal circumstances. I wish to express our deepest appreciation to all the health care staff involved in these transplants, and our best wishes for a timely recovery for all the five patients. Finally, our sincere gratitude to those who with great generosity allow others to live a new life.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 emergency, a total of 21 transplants have been performed at ISMETT. These numbers demonstrate how the Coronavirus emergency has not stopped the Sicilian transplant network. The Sicilian network is proving that, even in times of crisis and with limited medical and nursing staff, the entire donation-transplant process can be successfully completed in Sicily, meeting the needs of the many patients on the transplant waiting list.