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UPMC Performs Increased Number of Lung Transplants Despite COVID-19 Crisis

May 21, 2020

While most medical centers across the country halted life-saving transplants, UPMC managed to do an increased 12 lung transplants in the month of April. UPMC typically performs about six lung transplants per month.

Transplants in the United States are down more than 51% since the COVID-19 outbreak began, but since western Pennsylvania was not a hot spot for the virus, intensive care unit beds were available, and transplant teams at UPMC were able to put together a strategy to keep their patients safe.

UPMC patient Josh Sarchet was in desperate need of a lung transplant, but knew the risks were higher than usual during this unprecedented time. Pablo Sanchez, MD, PhD, FACS, surgical director of Lung Transplant/ECMO, worked with Sarchet and his family to weigh the risks of the procedure.

They developed a detailed safety plan and completed a successful transplant.

“Six weeks after and he's going home. If we hadn't made that decision, he'd probably be dead. He's 31 years old. How unfair would that be?” Dr. Sanchez said.

To learn more, view the story on WPXI.

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