SAN ANTONIO – Various healthcare experts and agencies collaborated to create a new specialized facility for organ donations and transplants.
The new Center for Life is located at University Hospital and opened its doors on Saturday morning.
“I think this is the highest form of collaboration that can exist in healthcare,” Jennifer Milton said.
Milton is the chief administrative officer for the University Transplant Center.
Milton said the Center for Life is the first of its kind in the nation. The center will be staffed by employees from Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA) and University Hospital and will work closely with community partners such as GenCure and the San Antonio Eye Bank.
Organ donations will come exclusively from deceased donors.
“What we’re going to do is really going to revolutionize the care for donors, improve the (number of) lives saved through transplantation of organs, tissues and corneas," Milton said.
According to University Hospital, managing an organ donor and surgical procedures can be a challenge to doctors and hospitals due to lack of resources.
Through the Center for Life, Clarissa Thompson, senior communications coordinator for TOSA, said the time it takes for doctors to decide if an organ can be a match for a recipient on the waiting list can be decreased immensely with the state-of-the-art equipment.
“We (now) have a 24/7 facility,” Thompson said. “We are going to have specialty care teams to care for patients one-on-one. The surgical suites here, they have been equipped specifically for the recovery of organ and tissue donation and transplantation.”
In the center’s first year, it’s estimated 90 people will benefit from organ donations and more than 21,000 others will benefit from tissue donations.
“With the donors that originate here at UH, those will be the first donors that will be transferred to the Center for Life," Thompson said. "After that, we’ll roll it out to our San Antonio donor partner hospitals and then finally to our region-wide (partners). (TOSA) covers from Waco all the way down to the Valley.”
To register to become an organ donor, visit TOSA’s website here.