Health Care

Liver transplant team cares for 1,000th patient

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Surgeons at the AdventHealth Transplant Institute recently performed the 1,000th transplant in the program’s history.

The institute, Central Florida’s only solid organ transplant center, offers Floridians access to a top liver transplant center without leaving the state.

“We're able to handle one of the most difficult surgeries and continue to do so with excellent outcomes,” said Dr. Thomas Chin, the director of liver transplant who came to the institute in 2007 to start the liver transplant program. “I think that should bring a lot of confidence.”

The surgical team for the 1,000th procedure was led by Dr. Michael Angelis, assisted by surgeons, Dr. Phillip Wai and Chin.

“I think the fact that we’ve gotten here after just about 15-years is a tremendous accomplishment,” Chin said. “It’s very gratifying that we can really affect someone’s life in such a positive manner.”

Liver transplant patient Shelly Kalahar

Shelly Kalahar, the institute’s 716th liver transplant patient, said AdventHealth has, “The best people, the best doctors, the best surgeons, the best nurses. They’re the best people I’ve ever met in my life!”

Kalahar said her transplant has allowed her to spend five more Thanksgivings, and counting, with her family. She also pointed out how meaningful it is to belong to that exclusive group of AdventHealth Transplant Institute’s first 1,000 liver transplants.

“Oh, I think it’s awesome. It saved my life. A thousand people got to live longer,” Kalahar said.

Watch the video above to see Kalahar’s inspiring and surprising personal transplant journey.

Many of the innovations and programs at the AdventHealth Transplant Institute are funded through philanthropy. Among them is the Bartch Transplant House ­— a home-away-from-home that provides housing, support, and amenities at an affordable cost for patients and families. Those amenities are funded through donations to the Patient Assistance Fund.

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