SSM Health Medical Minute – New SLU Hospital will include OR to ease living organ donation

Medical Minute
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ST. LOUIS - The new SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital is on schedule to open September 1, 2020. The new hospital is a $550 million replacement hospital and outpatient care center located at the corner of Grand and Chouteau, just behind its current location.

The Medical Minute has a new ER Concept for patients in the Level 1 Trauma Center called the Clinical Decision Unit for patients who come to the ED who may not be sick enough to be admitted to the hospital but need to stay longer than a typical emergency visit.

But a revolutionary concept was added as well to ease living organ donation, one of the growing areas within SLU Hospital services.

The operating room space is substantially larger at the new SLU Hospital to meet the needs of an academic medical center. An operating room with a specific pathway to support living organ donation is underway. The pathway area maintains sterility and eases the transplant process when one person donates to another. As the number of living organ donors grows, this was top of mind in building the new ORs.

Kelly Baumer, the vice president of specialty services overseeing the new SLU Hospital, says the new OR concept was a suggestion of one of their surgeons.

“The living donor can be in one room and the recipient can be in the other room, and we can harvest the organ and just walk straight through to the other operating room to place that organ,” she said.

Traditionally, the surgeon would have to harvest the organ, take the organ out of that OR room, break the sterile field, go out into another area and back into a sterile field to maintain that sterile environment. With this new concept, the organ never leaves the sterile field.

“We want the organ to go from the donor to the recipient as soon as possible. So this allows really just a few seconds to go from one OR to the other.”

The sooner that organ can get to the recipient is best for the patient. This new design allows the hospital to provide this to their living donors and recipients.

“With our new design, we could design it this way and then construct it.”

In 2014 the living organ donation program performed 50 transplants. In 2019, the program completed 112 transplants.

Currently, there are more than 100,00 people on the national kidney transplant list, approximately 1,200 in Missouri. Every day, about 12 of these transplant candidates die or become too sick before a donor organ becomes available. Living donor kidney transplantation allows individuals in need to by-pass the lengthy waiting list.

Download the Living Donation toolkit.

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