Milestone 500th transplant saves Army veteran’s life

Abel Herrera (Photo courtesy Medical City)

A 72-year-old Vietnam veteran became the recipient of a life-saving kidney transplant, the 500th transplant for the world-class program at Medical City Fort Worth, the hospital announced.

Lori Kautzman, MD, performed the milestone surgery on May 7.

Kautzman successfully performed the kidney transplant on Abel Herrera.

Herrera, a helicopter mechanic during the Vietnam War, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2000 and subsequently lost his eyesight. Eight years ago, he began undergoing hemodialysis because of failing kidney function.

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Herrera and his wife moved to North Texas from El Paso because of the Fort Worth medical community and the support that it could offer, Medical City said in the announcement.

Exhausted by multiple dialysis treatment sessions per week, Herrera joined the waiting list at Medical City Fort Worth in late 2018 after hearing of the program’s short wait time and excellent outcomes.

Herrera received his kidney only six month later, close to the average wait time for a kidney at Medical City Fort Worth.

“I am so blessed to have received this transplant,” Herrera said in the news release. “The transplant team at Medical City Fort Worth was amazing and provided me with the best care possible.”

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Medical City Fort Worth has been performing transplants since 2012 and is recognized by the Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients (SRTR) as the No. 1 kidney transplant program in the nation for wait times.

Patients on the transplant list at Medical City Fort Worth wait an average of 5.3 months compared to 61.8 months nationally. In addition, SRTR has recognized Medical City Fort Worth as having some of the best patient outcomes nationally, the hospital said.

“This milestone is another example of the lifesaving care that our transplant team provides to our patients every day,” said Jyric Sims, CEO, “Our program’s wait times and outcomes are why we are the destination of choice for healthcare excellence for North Texans in need of a kidney transplant.”

Medical City Fort Worth is licensed for 320 beds and offers comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services in a wide range of specialties, including cardiac care, neurosciences, oncology, surgical services, orthopedics, kidney transplants and emergency care.