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Jewish Hospital Celebrates 55 Years of Saving and Improving Lives Through Organ Transplantation.


For More Information:
David McArthur, Senior Manager, Media Relations
UofL Health
502.587.4230 or 502.648.3411

UofL Health - Jewish Hospital Celebrates 55 Years of Saving Lives Through Organ Transplantation


More than 100 transplant recipients, along with donor families, gathered for a photo today following the 55th Anniversary celebration of the UofL Health - Jewish Hospital Transplant Care program.

Louisville, Ky. (April 16, 2019) — UofL Health - Jewish Hospital Transplant Care, in partnership with University of Louisville, celebrates Donate Life Month with more than 5,200 lives saved through organ transplantation. More than 100 of those transplant recipients gathered today to mark the program’s 55th anniversary, along with the transplant team and donor families.

“It’s through you, the organ recipients, that I see Davey and other donors continuing to fulfill their life purpose,” said Jennifer Albright. Her son Davey, a Trinity High School student, tragically lost his life last year in a flooding accident, but his organs went to many on the transplant waiting list. “Your second chance at life brings me comfort and I am so thankful to the expertise of the UofL Health - Jewish Hospital transplant team for making that possible.”

“I am forever grateful,” said kidney recipient Melanie Hughes. On staff at Trinity, she knew Davey and his family, “I am grateful to Davey, the Albright family, and the team at UofL Health - Jewish Hospital. My heart broke at losing him, but Davey’s gift changed my life.”

Melanie’s transplant was among the 106 kidney transplants performed at UofL Health - Jewish Hospital in 2018, setting a new annual record for kidneys while the team also completed its 500th heart and 300th lung transplants. In 2017, UofL Health - Jewish Hospital Transplant Care set an all-organ record, with 187 organs transplanted. The growth comes as the program continues to improve access, seeing patients closer to home with three outreach clinics in the state: Crestview Hills, Bowling Green and Henderson (opened in January 2019).

“We are honored at UofL Health - Jewish Hospital with the expertise to deliver so many firsts and milestones in our transplant programs,” said Ronald Waldridge II, MD, President of UofL Health - Jewish Hospital. “It is a true testament to the skill and innovation of our physicians, our partnership with the University of Louisville, the medical teams, and all support staff. I commend the compassion and bravery of our donors and their families. We look forward to many more celebrations in the years to come.”

“Hope is not possible without the sacrifice of our donor families,” said Christopher Jones, MD, UofL Health - Jewish Hospital Transplantation Program Director, and Transplant Surgery Division Chief at University of Louisville Physicians - Transplantation Surgery and the UofL School of Medicine. “Being the transplant center of choice is not possible without trust. To the transplant team, past and present, I applaud your expertise and commitment to compassionate care.”

The first transplant at UofL Health - Jewish Hospital—a kidney transplant—was performed on September 3rd in 1964. Since then, UofL Health - Jewish Hospital’s transplant program has performed many firsts:

· Kentucky’s first adult heart transplant
· Kentucky’s first pancreas transplant
· Kentucky’s first adult liver transplant
· Kentucky’s first double-lung transplant
· Kentucky’s first dual heart/lung transplant

Today, UofL Health - Jewish Hospital is among a very small percentage of hospitals across the country approved to perform all five solid organ transplants: heart, lung, liver, kidney, and pancreas.

UofL Health - Jewish Hospital is also home to the World’s Most Successful Hand Transplant, celebrating its 20th anniversary last month. The Louisville Vascular Composite Allograft program began here in 1999. The program set out to prove that the transfer of a hand and/or arm could be a treatment alternative for patients who had lost a limb, in the same way a kidney or heart can be replaced in patients who need a new organ.

The nucleus of the solid organ program is the Trager Transplant Center, 18,000 square feet with 20 state of the art exam and consultation rooms. It opened in 2016, with a $3.3 million gift from the UofL Health - Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation and the Trager family. The family has provided $2.2 million in philanthropic support as well.

None of this would be possible without the donors themselves, and the support of organ procurement agencies including Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA). KODA, and Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life program, work to raise awareness about the need for organ donation. An estimated 7,000 lives are lost each year while waiting on an organ transplant, and Kentuckians can take two steps to help reduce that number.

1. Registering as a donor
2. Donating $1 when you obtain Kentucky driver’s license or state ID.

“That dollar educates and teaches the truth about this miraculous gift of life to ensure everyone registers. When more people are registered as potential donors, more lives are saved,” said Shelley Snyder, Executive Director of the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust for Life, and Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates. “We are thrilled to celebrate this momentous day with UofL Health - Jewish Hospital and want to make sure Kentuckians on the transplant waiting list today, and in the future, have the best chance to receive a lifesaving organ.”

Kentuckians can join the Kentucky Donor Registry online at People who live outside of the state of Kentucky can visit for state specific donor registry information.

About UofL Health - Jewish Hospital
UofL Health - Jewish Hospital, part of UofL Health Louisville Region, is an internationally renowned, high-tech tertiary referral center, developing leading-edge advancements in hand and microsurgery, heart and lung care, orthopedics and sports medicine, neuroscience, organ transplantation and outpatient care. The hospital is the site of the world’s first successful hand transplant and AbioCor® implantable replacement heart procedures, in addition to the first trial of adult cardiac stem cells in chronic heart failure. UofL Health - Jewish Hospital continues to be recognized for its specialized heart care procedures, including the implantation of ventricular assist devices (VAD), and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). The UofL Health - Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center is in a select group of hospitals nationwide that perform heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation. The center also includes a Pancreas Disease Center, a GI Motility Clinic, and Advanced Heart Failure and Ventricular Assist Device programs. UofL Health - Jewish Hospital services may also be accessed throughout the community at multiple freestanding outpatient/ambulatory/emergency care centers, as well as through the Healthy Lifestyle Center located on the downtown medical campus.

About the University of Louisville
The University of Louisville is Kentucky's metropolitan research university, with 22,000 students attending classes at 12 colleges and schools on three campuses. Bordered by its many medical partners, UofL's downtown Health Sciences Center is home to more than 650 medical and dental residents, 3,000 students pursuing degrees in health-related fields with the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and Information Sciences, as well as 14 interdisciplinary centers and institutes.

About UofL Health - Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation
UofL Health - Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation supports UofL Health Louisville Region’s drive for excellence by inspiring donors to make a tangible difference through their philanthropic investment in outstanding patient care facilities and services, the education of caregivers, advanced clinical research and improved access to quality medical care.

About Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA)
Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) is dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. KODA is an independent, non-profit organ and tissue procurement organization and was formed to establish a statewide educational and procurement network. KODA serves 114 counties in Kentucky, four counties in southern Indiana and two counties in western West Virginia. The KODA service area includes 112 hospitals, three transplant centers and a multicultural population of four million. For more information about KODA visit

About Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust for Life
The Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life (TFL) is a 501c (3) non-profit organization that informs, educates, and encourages Kentuckians to be registered organ & tissue donors to save lives. TFL was founded in 1992 as the charitable arm of the Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks. The dollar donations at Circuit Court Clerks’ Driver’s License counters and other philanthropic partners, including KODA and Kosair Charities, fund the statewide community outreach & public relations efforts to grow the Registry. Kentucky was recognized by Donate Life America for highest increase in Registry rates in 2016. For more info call 1-866-945-5433, email or visit