At a virtual town hall last week for kidney patients, clinicians from the Massachusetts General Hospital Transplant Center discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the availability of transplant surgeries and offered strategies for patients considering a transplant in the near future. A patient who received a transplant last year also shared her experience during the town hall session, hosted by the Betsy Lehman Center and the IPRO End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Network of New England.
Transplants significantly decreased in March in an effort to conserve PPE and other resources, and to limit exposure of patients and staff to COVID-19. In the northeast, the number of living donors fell to zero for several weeks. Nahel Elias, M.D., explained that transplants are being scheduled again, and patients should consider that the benefits still outweigh the risks of surgery during this pandemic.
Kim Pratt, a member of the ESRD Network 1 Patient Advisory Council agreed. “I have to tell you, I feel a whole lot better having a transplant,” she said. “I just feel that it is an improvement in your life.”