IU Health celebrates transplant success with creative flair

Local

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hundreds of Hoosiers are getting a second chance at life thanks to abdominal transplants.

Abdominal transplants include such organs as the liver, kidney, pancreas and intestines.

About 78% of abdominal transplants in Indiana are done at IU Health. That’s no surprise since the hospital has one of the top-10 programs in the nation.

With each year that goes by, IU Health puts together something to celebrate and show the difference they’re making in people’s lives.

Since January, IU Health has completed 388 transplants, becoming one of the top three departments in liver transplants nationally and setting a statewide record in October for monthly kidney transplants.

“In the state, we have the oldest transplant program,” said Dr. Jonathan Fridell, chief of IU Health Abdominal Transplant Surgery. “We’re the only program that offers liver and intestine. We have been among the top pancreas programs in the country. So, we’ve become a referral center for, really, the most complicated surgical and immunological cases.”

Once a year for the past nine years, paintings have been going up in the hospital following their Transplant Matters event. Each picture is painted together with all the transplant staff and transplant recipients that year to celebrate that second chance at life the paintings represent.

“What these paintings really display is how much effort and how many people and how much goes into that journey,” Fridell said.

Kelly Coffey is one of the contributing artists. She got a transplant from her sister through IU Health.

“I received a kidney transplant 23 years ago and I’ve been working in transplant for about 19 of those years,” Coffey said.

Coffey dedicated her life to transplant work in the same program that saved her life, so she can make a difference in other people’s lives.

“I love being able to give back to our patients and share the gift of life with others as I’ve been given,” Coffey said.

But you don’t need to be part of the staff or someone who collaborated on the paintings to help spread the story of success. For any of these celebrations to happen, it first takes a little bit of generosity.

“None of these patients would be better, all of these patients that we’ve helped rely on organ donations,” Fridell said. “So go out there and sign your organ donor cards.”

If you’d like to register to be a donor or find out more information about donations, click here.

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