Navigating the new normal as a transplant patient

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 6:52 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Approximately 80 people undergo organ transplants each day – these recipients are presented with unique challenges during the pandemic that require them to make substantial changes in ways that they receive medical care from their healthcare professionals. Organ recipients are at higher risk of contracting the virus because the immunosuppressive drugs they take to prevent organ rejection also limit their body’s ability to ward off infection.

As restrictions start to lift, and the world seems more like normal, existing transplant patients would benefit from practical tips that help them remain informed and hyper-vigilant about safety. And as organ transplant surgeries begin to resume at centers around the country, transplant professionals can provide guidance to new patients regarding staying healthy in our “new normal” environment.

Leading transplant surgeon Adam W Bingaman, MD, PhD, Director of Abdominal Organ Transplantation at Methodist Hospital/Specialty and Transplant, is on the front lines during this crisis in his community He joined NewsChannel 7 at 4 on Thursday to provide tips to both patients and their caregivers about keeping safe, during the “new normal.”

  • Seek Care with Telemedicine: Consult with your doctor about available telemedicine programs. Also known as telehealth, telemedicine uses phones, tablets and laptops for virtual medical appointments, remote but in real-time, with healthcare professionals.
  • Evaluate Caregivers' Risk: In addition to transplant patients being hyper-vigilant of their own health, they must also monitor their caregivers' exposure to the public. If a caregiver needs to go into public areas– for example, if they are an essential worker – then they should take necessary precautions.
  • Inquire About Home Blood Draws: Transplant patients undergo frequent blood tests in labs or hospitals to monitor for the health of their transplanted organs. There are at-home services that A service allows patients to receive home blood draws from trained technicians called phlebotomists to access for organ rejection:

Additionally, CareDx CEO Peter Maag – the company behind RemoTraC – joined Dr. Bingaman to discuss widespread usage of the service during COVID-19, and the company’s ongoing commitment to addressing patient needs.

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