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Sutter Health Performs Historic Transplant

10,000th transplant at CPMC showcases bright future of medicine

By Margaret Hetherwick

Sutter Health’s CPMC facility performed its 10,000th organ transplant — a liver for UC Berkeley graduate student Brad Ganoe — early on New Year’s Day. Not only did the liver save Ganoe’s life, but it marked a huge milestone in the transplant practice.

“I think what it’s shown is, you’ve seen the evolution of immunology, surgical techniques, and how medicine now is really a team sport. It’s multidisciplinary,” says Dr. Robert Osorio, chairman of CPMC’s advanced organ therapies. “This is a lifelong relationship that we have with these patients.”

Ganoe was in dire straits in December of 2021. He had sustained multiple organ failure and encephalopathy, rendering him in a dementia-like cognitive state. Ganoe and his husband Alex had been in and out of multiple hospitals since 2017, and in August of 2021 Ganoe was transferred to CPMC.

“At the beginning of the process, I was very scared because I was like, I don’t know anything about these people or the transplant process. And they really just kind of stepped up and told me, here’s what we’re going to do to help you, here’s what needs to be done, and here’s how you can help yourself as well,” says Ganoe.

Dr. Osorio cited CPMC’s community outreach as a game changer in transplant patient care. The hospital uses software developed here in the Bay to match donors to recipients, then arranges for all patients involved to get the care they need — including lodging, transportation and follow-up care. This method has been so effective that they have been able to serve patients in over 40 states. 

As transplants at CPMC become more efficient and safer, so does the future of surgical medicine, says Dr. Osorio.

“I always tell my young surgeons and physicians that in transplants and what we do, we’re not reading the books of medicine, we’re writing the books of medicine,” says Dr. Osorio. “You have to be out there on the edge, learning every day.”

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