A 13-year-old Norfolk girl is the first patient to receive a transplant in a unique pediatric liver transplant partnership between Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital.
India Johnson suffered from two rare genetic diseases that caused her liver and kidneys to fail. India needed a liver and kidney transplant, so on Feb. 11, her mother contacted the Charles O. Strickler Transplant Center at UVA, the only comprehensive transplant center in Virginia. Coincidentally, it was the same day that UVA’s partnership with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC was announced.
The partnership was established to expand UVA’s pediatric liver transplant program and increase access to care for transplant patients throughout Virginia. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC transplant surgeons consult with UVA counterparts and with Virginia-based patients via teleconsult. Once organs become available, a team of nurses, surgeons and specialists from Pittsburgh travel to UVA to perform the transplant alongside UVA transplant surgeons.
India and her mother, Melody Johnson, traveled to Charlottesville for evaluation with the UVA team in person and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC team via telemedicine.
“The team was so confident in what they could do, it made me confident,” Melody Johnson said. “I was really comfortable with the facility and the people.”
India received her new liver and kidney on May 17, two weeks after she was originally added to the national organ transplant waiting list. Physicians report that she is doing very well.
“We’re so pleased that India received her transplant closer to home with exceptional care from UVA and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC,” said Kenneth Brayman, MD, PhD, FACS, division chief of transplant surgery and director of the Charles O. Strickler Transplant Center at UVA.
“We’re honored that India and her family entrusted her care to us and we’re very pleased with her progress so far,” said George V. Mazariegos, M.D., director of pediatric transplantation at the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s. “She represents the beginning of an important collaboration between our transplant program and our colleagues at UVA. Working together, we plan to greatly enhance this region’s organ transplant capabilities so that families from Virginia can remain close to home and still get the highest level of pediatric transplant care available in the country.”
“India’s transplant experience is a remarkable example of UVA working with partners to provide the highest level of specialty care to the citizens of the commonwealth,” Richard P. Shannon, MD, executive vice president for health affairs at UVA.
About Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Regionally, nationally, and globally, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is a leader in the treatment of childhood conditions and diseases, a pioneer in the development of new and improved therapies, and a top educator of the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists. Children’s Hospital has fulfilled this mission since its founding in 1890. Children’s is named consistently to several elite lists of pediatric hospitals, including ranking 7th among children’s hospitals and schools of medicine (FY 2014) in funding for pediatric research provided by the National Institutes of Health, and is one of 10 pediatric hospitals in the United States named to U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of America’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” for 2015-2016.
About UVA Children’s Hospital
UVA Children’s Hospital provides primary and specialty care in more than 30 specialties to children throughout Virginia. It is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report and includes a hospital-within-a-hospital at UVA Medical Center with 111 beds, a dedicated pediatric emergency department, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for infants, a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for children younger than 18 and the UVA Child Health Research Center. The Battle Building, opened in 2014, consolidates outpatient children’s care at a single location in Charlottesville.
About University of Virginia Health System
UVA Health System is an academic health system that includes a 612-bed hospital, the UVA School of Medicine, a level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia. UVA is recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors.