Lutheran Hospital ending heart transplant program April 1

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services and the United Network for Organ Sharing require programs to have a dedicated cardiologist with specific training and certification for heart transplant programs.

Posted: Mar. 15, 2019 3:26 PM
Updated: Mar. 15, 2019 10:13 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - After more than 30 years, Lutheran Hospital is ending the heart transplant program April 1 because the doctor running it is moving out of state.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services and the United Network for Organ Sharing require programs to have a dedicated cardiologist with specific training and certification for heart transplant programs.

A Lutheran Health Network spokesman said in a statement the hospital did recruit a new doctor, but those plans fell through.

This ends Lutheran's longest running transplant program, with the first heart transplant being performed in 1985.

Today, there are only four patients on Lutheran Hospital's heart transplant waiting list.

Parkview said it doesn't have any sort of transplant program in place, leaving the closest transplant center in Indianapolis.

Lutheran said it is working to transfer patients to the St. Vincent heart transplant program in Indianapolis.

Lutheran Hospital told FOX 55 it is still evaluating the program to determine the best way to serve the community's need.

This is the latest program reduction in the Lutheran Health Network. Last year it ended the child birthing services at St. Joe Hospital downtown.

Lutheran is still looking an advanced heart failure cardiologist.

Lutheran's kidney transplant program isn't effected by the change and it is still accepting new patients.

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