Increase in deaths in Milwaukee County led to more availability of donor organs

Milwaukee hospital has surge of heart transplants during coronavirus pandemic

While coronavirus cases are pushing area hospitals to their limit, one Milwaukee hospital is also seeing a surprising surge in heart transplants.

Despite the pandemic, the number of heart transplants at St Luke’s soared at a record pace, 39 through the end of August compared with 23 last year.

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All while, some other hospitals paused their transplant programs, which had an unexpected impact Aurora St. Luke’s.

“Some of the smaller programs closed for acute transplants, so, in fact, that increased the pool of patients,” Crouch said.

There was an increase in patients in a program that had already committed to doing more heart transplants before COVID hit.

That’s when the pandemic upped the transplant numbers again, but this time, due to an unfortunate reason.

“I think that having COVID, the pandemic basically allowed us to get access to a lot more donors,” Sulemanjee said.