The new DHR Health Transplant Institute – a comprehensive, multidisciplinary disease management center specializing in kidney, liver and pancreatic disorders – has just been opened. It is home to the Kidney Transplant Center, the Liver Specialty Center and the Hepatobiliary, Pancreas and Organ Transplant Surgery Center. At a recent news conference, doctors at the institute said a multidisciplinary approach is “essential to a successful transplant program and successful patient outcomes.” The physicians pointed out that organ recipients will no longer have to travel outside of the Rio Grande Valley to receive all of their transplant care. The Liver Specialty Center provides patients who may be candidates for a liver transplant the opportunity to be evaluated and receive their pre- and post-operative live transplant care close to home. Kidney transplant recipient Mercedes Rivas is featured in this podcast. Rivas was diagnosed with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, a rare disease with an unknown cause that can damage organ systems, most commonly the kidneys, lungs and upper respiratory tract. Mercedes’ kidneys began to fail and she was placed on the national transplant waiting list. While watching her sister endure the hardships of daily dialysis treatments, Maricela asked to be tested to see if her kidneys were compatible, and she was the perfect match. On Jan. 9, 2018, Maricela’s kidney was successfully donated to Mercedes. Also featured in the podcast are Dr. Jose Luis Almeda, transplant director, and Dr. Philip G. Thomas, primary transplant surgeon.

Editor’s Note: The main photo accompanying this podcast was taken at a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new DHR Health Transplant Institute. Pictured from left to right are: Dr. Philip G. Thomas, primary transplant surgeon, Mercedes Rivas of McAllen, a kidney transplant recipient, Dr. Mourad Alsabbagh, transplant nephrologist, and Dr. Jose Luis Almeda, transplant director.