Area kidney transplants transplanted to hospitals further away

Elizabeth Tidd, Amarillo Kidney Specialists
Elizabeth Tidd, Amarillo Kidney Specialists

NewsChannel 10

The only kidney transplant center in our region is suspending its operations, which could have a major impact on people needing transplants in the Panhandle.

University Medical Center in Lubbock will no longer be performing kidney transplants because of an internal investigation.

The closest transplant centers are in Dallas and Oklahoma City. About 400 people are on dialysis in the Panhandle and will have to make a much longer trip for a transplant.

Those trying to get on the transplant list will be faced with even more traveling. Elizabeth Tidd with the Amarillo Kidney Specialists says, "We have 216 patients here in end-stage renal disease and a lot of them want a transplant and were listed in Lubbock or are trying to get one, and that involves about a year's worth of traveling to the transplant center for testing."

She says more travel means more costs to the patient, some of which many insurances will not cover.

UMC in Lubbock says they will continue pre-transplant and post-transplant care for current patients. There are about 80 from the Panhandle area that fall into this category.