Press Release

UC Health Kidney Transplant Program Reaches New Milestone

Dec. 7, 2017

CINCINNATI - Fifty years ago, UC Medical Center surgeons changed transplantation in Cincinnati by performing their first kidney transplant.

This week, UC Health’s world-renowned Transplant Program reached a new milestone: 100 kidney transplants performed in one year for the first time.

“The 100th kidney transplant in 2017, the first time we have ever reached this threshold at UC Health, is a testament of hard work by all our surgeons, physicians, nurses, social workers, and a comprehensive multidisciplinary team. We should all be proud of this accomplishment as it represents a total team effort one patient at a time,” said Shimul A. Shah, MD, Section Chief of Solid Organ Transplantation in the UC Department of Surgery and the James and Catherine Orr Endowed Chair of Liver Transplantation at the UC College of Medicine.

For the Cincinnati family involved in the transplant, the surgery was extra special: Kris Harris, 22, was able to give his mother, Laverne, the gift of life just days before her 54th birthday. Ms. Harris has suffered from advanced kidney disease for several years, and her son said the decision to donate his own kidney was not a difficult one.

“She brought me into the world, so the least I can do is give her the gift of life,” Kris Harris said. “I was nervous going into the operating room, but I put my faith in the medical team. They were excellent, and made sure we were informed every step of the way.”

The UC Health Kidney Transplant Program has a long history of innovation: UC Medical Center was one of the first centers in the U.S. to perform all living donor kidney surgeries laparoscopically, resulting in faster recoveries and less pain for living kidney donors. UC Health transplant surgeons have led the development of kidney exchange programs both locally and nationally, helping expand access to living kidney donation, which provides the best outcomes and the longest survival rates.

“This is an important milestone for our transplant programs, but most importantly, it means more patients have better lives and longer life expectancies,” said E. Steve Woodle, MD, Director of Solid Organ Transplantation at UC Health and the William A. Altemeier Chair in Surgery at the UC College of Medicine.

The fast-growing program performs nearly double the number of kidney transplants each year as it did a decade ago.

Monday, Dec. 11 will mark 50 years since the first kidney transplant performed at UC Medical Center.

Media Contact

Amanda Nageleisen

Director of Media Relations