Heart patient says OHSU needs to fix transplant program: 'My life is depending on you'

Diana Howell, a patient at Portland, Ore.-based OHSU Healthcare, was removed from the hospital's heart transplant list after OHSU suspended its heart transplant program for at least two weeks, according to KEZI 9 News.

Ms. Howell has a serious heart condition that requires her to be on oxygen at all times. She was put on OHSU's heart transplant list about a year ago, and her physician told her she needed a new heart within the next 18 months. When the hospital suspended its heart-transplant program, she was removed from the list.

"My life is depending on you (OHSU)," Ms. Howell told KEZI 9 News. "You need to fix this, you need to fix your program, you need to fix the issues that are causing the doctors to leave, and you need to get your doctors back. Our lives depend on it. I don't know what else to say. People will die without it."

On Aug. 27, OHSU told Ms. Howell her healthcare team will attempt to transfer her to a hospital in Seattle, but cannot guarantee she will get on the other hospital's transplant list.

KEZI reached out to OHSU for a comment on the heart transplant suspension. Tamara Hargens-Bradley, associate director of OHSU strategic communications, emailed KEZI a response.

"The decision was made following the departure of one specialist and the planned departure of two others from the heart transplant program team," Ms. Hargens-Bradley said. "The remainder of the program team will continue to work and actively care for patients. If a longer suspension of transplant services is needed, OHSU will immediately inform patients and the community."

OHSU staff told KEZI they will maintain communication with heart patients and work on restoring the transplant program as soon as possible.

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