Oregon's First Transplant of 2000 Performed at Midnight on New Year's Eve

01/01/00    Portland, Ore.

Heart Transplant Gives 16-Year-Old Washington Teen a New Lease on Life

While the West Coast rang in the year 2000, Oregon Health Sciences University performed its first heart transplant of the new year. The patient, 16-year-old Jera Hokanson of Battleground, Washington, remains in fair condition at OHSU Hospital. The transplant started at 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 and was completed at 3:30 a.m. on January 1, 2000 and is OHSU's heart transplant team's seventh transplant in two weeks.

Jera's heart was damaged when she underwent chemotherapy treatment for cancer several years ago. She was moved to the transplant waiting list in August 1999 and admitted to OHSU on Nov. 8. She is expected to remain at OHSU Hospital for several days.

The operation marks the beginning of a new era and the end of an eventful year for Oregon's premier transplant program. In the year 2000, the program is expecting to pass the 3,800 mark for solid organ transplants since the program's inception in 1959.

While surgeons, nurses and staff are looking forward to the new year, they claim 1999 brought its share of advancements. "Last year was a big success for both patients and the transplant program itself," said Maggie Allee, R.N., M.S., J.D., director of operations for Transplantation and Medical Diagnostic Services at OHSU. "In the last week and a half alone, we have performed a total of 21 transplants which have provided the gift of life for people who might not have survived otherwise."

In addition, individual transplant programs are also celebrating some major milestones:

Heart transplant

  • The heart transplant program performed its 360th transplant on Jan. 1. The program has been in existence since 1985.
  • Four new cardiothoracic surgeons joined the team under the direction of H. Storm Floten, M.D., who was named chief of cardiothoracic surgery in July 1999. The team performs heart transplant operations, and cardiac and general thoracic surgery.
  • Since Floten's arrival, the new team has performed 15 transplants in the last six months, compared to seven in the previous six months of the year

Kidney transplant

  • The kidney transplant program celebrated its 40th anniversary. On Oct. 9, 1959, surgeons at OHSU transplanted the first kidney on the West Coast from a 12-year-old girl to her twin sister. It was only the 18th such procedure in the world. Since that time, OHSU surgeons have performed more than 2,700 transplants.
  • In 1999 alone, 147 kidney transplant operations took place, including 10 in the last week and a half.

Liver transplant

  • OHSU surgeons conducted 51 liver transplants, including five in the last week and a half.
  • The three-year survival rate for liver transplant patients at OHSU Hospital is 79 percent, higher than the national average.

For more information about organ donation, contact the Oregon Donor Program at 1-800-452-1369.