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Donated organs must be transplanted within a very short time. Patients are notified as soon as an organ is available to allow them sufficient time to travel to the Medical Center.
Transplant patients go to the main admitting office at the Greene Street entrance. Admitting Office staff are notified in advance of the patient's arrival and will be prepared to help with the admitting process.
Patients are greeted and directed to either Same Day Surgery or the transplant inpatient unit. On the unit, a history is taken of any medical events which may have occurred since the initial transplant evaluation. Blood tests are also done to ensure the patient's readiness for surgery.
Patients are asked to bring only basic necessities to the Hospital when they are admitted for the transplant surgery. After surgery when the patient is recuperating, the family may bring comfortable clothing -- pajamas or sweat suits -- and a small amount of money for incidentals.
The transplant surgery itself is performed in one of the Hospital's main operating rooms. The length of time for each procedure depends on a number of factors, including the patient's condition and the organ which is being transplanted.
Following surgery, patients are taken to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit or the transplant unit in the Hospital's Homer Gudelsky Building. They are closely monitored to ensure that their bodies are accepting the new organ and that they are experiencing no ill effects of the immunosuppressive medications.
To complete their recovery, patients move to rooms on a surgical unit. Here, transplant nurses and physicians monitor the patients' progress and prepare them for leaving the Hospital. Patients learn about the medications they will take for the rest of their lives and how to take them correctly. They also learn how to recognize signs of organ rejection.
How long the patient stays in the Hospital depends on many factors, including the patient's general health before surgery and the type of transplant surgery performed. For example, kidney recipients generally stay five to 10 days; pancreas or liver recipients stay approximately 10 to 14 days.