Hackensack University Medical Center Reactivates Transplant List and Resumes Transplant Surgeries

May 31, 2020

Effective May 31, 2020, Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center reactivated its transplant list and resumed performing kidney and pancreas transplant procedures. In March 2020, Hackensack University Medical Center voluntarily inactivated its transplant list and put a hold on performing transplant surgeries due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, Hackensack University Medical Center’s organ transplant physicians continued to provide care to transplant candidates and previous organ recipients through telehealth virtual visits. Hackensack University Medical Center made the decision to reactivate its transplant list and resume offering transplant procedures now that enhanced patient safety measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been successfully implemented across all Hackensack Meridian Health facilities.

“With heightened safety precautions now in place to protect patients who need surgery or who are immunocompromised as a result of an organ transplant, we are pleased to be able to reactivate our waiting lists and resume kidney and pancreas transplant surgeries,” said Michael J. Goldstein, M.D., FACS, director of Abdominal Organ Transplant, Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation, and Pediatric Abdominal Transplantation at Hackensack University Medical Center’s Division of Organ Transplantation. “Reactivating our waiting lists will provide patients throughout the greater New Jersey area who have urgent transplant needs with an opportunity to obtain the treatment they require at our facility.”

Hackensack University Medical Center’s transplant center is among the fastest-growing in the nation. One of only a few certified kidney and pancreas transplant programs in New Jersey, Hackensack University Medical Center delivers some of the best kidney transplant outcomes and has the shortest average deceased donor kidney wait times when compared to most other transplant centers in the region.

“The health and safety of our patients is our top priority, and we are committed to doing everything we can to prevent COVID-19 transmission in our facilities,” said Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center. “All patients — including those who require organ transplantation — can rest assured that they will receive the highest-quality care in an environment that prioritizes and optimizes patient safety.”

Hackensack Meridian Health has enhanced its processes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the safety of its patients, team members, and physicians while remaining committed to providing high-quality and compassionate care. Specific network-wide actions include:

  • Carrying out a safe and efficient triage process for non-COVID-19 patients in the Emergency Department.
  • Creation of separate areas within hospitals for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients.
  • Providing specially designated entrances for certain procedures and services.
  • Monitoring the temperature of all patients, visitors, team members and physicians who enter its hospitals.
  • Rigorously cleaning and sanitizing its hospitals, including the use of ultraviolet (UV) light cleaning and fogging. Additionally, the network has engaged a nationally recognized, third-party organization to oversee these significant efforts, including the environmental testing of air, water and surfaces to detect any presence of the virus.
  • Testing all patients staying at its hospitals.
  • Providing masks to patients, visitors, team members and physicians and requiring them to wear the masks while inside the hospital.
  • Ensuring our team members and physicians have the appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Practicing social distancing throughout the hospital.
  • Restricting visitation, consistent with directives from the state of New Jersey.

“The goal of Hackensack University Medical Center’s transplant program is to get patients off the transplant waiting list as soon as possible so they can get back to living a healthy life,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., FACS, regional president, Northern Market, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Resuming transplant surgeries and reactivating our waiting lists will allow us to continue meeting the organ transplantation needs of patients throughout the greater New Jersey area — efficiently, effectively, and safely.”