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Tue, Oct 9 8:20am · New Transplant Blog Posts in Transplants

Good morning!
In today's Meet the Expert blog post you get to meet someone who works primarily behind the scenes in a transplant center. Do you know the person who helped coordinator your deceased donor organ? At many centers that person is called the organ procurement coordinator. Learn more about Patti Weaver and her job function for Mayo Clinic in today's blog. Have a wonderful day everyone!


Tue, Oct 9 8:12am · Meet the Expert: Patti Weaver, R.N., Transplant Procurement Coordinator in Transplant

Readers: meet Patricia (Patti) Weaver, R.N., transplant procurement coordinator at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville. Patti has a very interesting role with our transplant program, and we were so glad when she accepted our invitation to be interviewed for our blog. We hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit and learning just how integral her role is in bringing together transplant donors and recipients.

How long have you been at Mayo Clinic?

2018-10-02 Weaver Blog

My career with Mayo Clinic is going on 20 years.

When I first started here, the liver transplant program was brand new. Before coming to Mayo I was a coordinator in region 3’s organ procurement organization (OPO), LifeQuest, working with donors and their families. That position is how I became familiar with Mayo’s program, as well as the opportunity to join this team, initially via a contracted role which was brought “in-house” in June 1999.

When the position was brought in-house, I was thrilled to be an official employee of Mayo Clinic. Everyone from the surgeons to the techs was just amazing. They were clinically efficient and delightful to work with, and they remain that way today.

What was your work experience prior to your job with LifeQuest?

My first job was working as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at a hospital with a level 1 trauma center. The experience exposed me to a lot of very sad yet rewarding patient cases that turned a loss into a situation that offered hope, through a transplant, to someone else. I really enjoyed working with the OPO coordinators at the time, so when there was an opening, I went for it.

What are the key functions of your job?

My job has evolved a lot over the years, primarily due to the growth of the transplant center at Mayo. When I started, the biggest part of my role was taking calls for organ donor offers. We would evaluate the donor over the phone and then pass on the information to the clinical teams. If Mayo accepted the offer, I would coordinate with the OPO and fly out with the procurement team to retrieve the organ.

As the program grew, and more organ programs were added to our transplant center, our roles expanded. We couldn’t keep up with the donor offers, so surgical techs were hired to serve as additional resources in retrieving organs and additional procurement coordinators were hired, too. Also over the years, the process of working with the OPOs has changed, and everything is electronic now rather than using the phone. UNET, an online system developed and managed by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), has so many capabilities for helping us match donors with recipients. For example, you can upload images of CT scans and x-rays so the team can view these anytime and anywhere.

Along with wearing my procurement coordinator hat, I’m also involved with the liver program and work closely with the pre-transplant coordinators. We are involved in the selection committee, listing the patients for transplant, and monitoring the waitlist. This has helped me deepen my understanding of the recipients, provides valuable information when evaluating the recipients listed on the organ donor match run when talking with the surgeon, and, ultimately, coordinating the procurement and transplant.

What’s the best part of your job?

Today there’s pretty limited time in terms of how long we have to evaluate the offer – we only have one hour to accept or decline. Sometimes we have several offers at once. So I take great pride and ownership in being as efficient as possible in moving through the necessary steps within that timeframe. No doubt, the best part of my job is when an offer comes through, we work through all the needed steps, and I get to place “the call” to the recipient with the news about their second chance.



Tue, Sep 25 9:19am · Your best traveling tips in Transplants

@rosemarya, @contentandwell, @jodeej, @jolinda, @ca426 and others,
Medication discussions can offer great advice to everyone, but we always suggest that anyone, regardless of the medication type, check with the team who is caring for you for recommendations on how and when to take your medication before you make any alterations to your meds. Our nurses say that most medication is better tolerated with food. Mayo Clinic doesn’t offer a preference for taking immunosuppression medications with or without food in general, but we do recommend that patients be consistent, because switching back and forth between with and without food can change the absorption of the medications, particularly of tacrolimus. Again, please don’t make any changes to your medication routines without first checking with your personal transplant team.

Tue, Sep 25 9:13am · Your best traveling tips in Transplants

@jodeej and everyone,
Thanks for the travel question and for your excellent feedback about travel after transplant. It seems like you have covered most all of the best tips. We asked our Mayo Clinic nurses and they echoed what you all have said about handwashing, masks, sunscreen, etc. They had some additional thoughts like making sure you bring extra medication in case of travel delays, and always pack your medication in your carry-on bag, not in your checked bag. They also recommended, if you have access to one, going to a Travel Clinic before traveling outside the U.S. so you can get the proper information on vaccines and safety measures in foreign countries. One final thought – has anyone visited the CDC website before traveling? On the CDC Travel website, you can select your destination and click the box for “immune-compromised traveler”. They provide recommendations for any travel location. You can find that website here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel. Happy and safe travels to everyone!

Tue, Sep 18 9:56am · New Transplant Blog Posts in Transplants

Happy Wednesday!
It's a rainy day around much of the country today. What a great time to sit inside and catch up on your reading. Today's blog post is the perfect place to start – a round-up of three posts that help you remember to care for yourself. We are often so busy caring for others that we forget about self-care. Learn more on the blog and stay dry today!


Tue, Sep 18 9:50am · Self-Care Tips for Transplant Patients in Transplant

Whether you or your loved one is pre-transplant or post, you know the importance of basic self-care. Here’s a round-up of three posts reminding you to take care of yourself and adopt healthy habits.

2018-09-18 Self Care Blog Post

Hand Washing 101

Getting Ready for Flu Season: Should I Get Vaccinated?

Weight Gain After Transplant: Where Does it Come From and How to Get Rid of It

Also, in case you missed it – here’s a list of “transplant hacks” developed by the experts themselves, patients from our transplant discussion group. Do you have hacks that didn’t make the list? Please share!


Fri, Sep 7 11:46am · New Transplant Blog Posts in Transplants

@japv2001 – I work with the physicians at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and asked them your question. Our medical director of liver transplant says that every situation is a little different so it can be difficult to say what is the best option without seeing a patient in person with all their medical scans and information. Generally, both the transplant evaluation and the procedure to treat the cancer can be done around the same time. Not doing a transplant has the risk of leaving more cancers remaining in the liver if treatment is not 100% successful. The risk/benefit balance favors transplant in many circumstances. We would be happy to evaluate your situation and offer a second opinion if you would like to come to any of our Mayo Clinic sites, if you have not already been evaluated with us. Thanks!

Fri, Sep 7 7:51am · Living Donor in Transplants

@tjdog – Welcome to Connect! I can check on your situation, but need to know some details, names, etc. Would you be willing to email us at transplant-rst@mayo.edu with your name and the donor's name? I also will need to know which Mayo Clinic you both contacted – Arizona, Florida or Minnesota. Once I have that info, I can check on your status. Feel free to send that email any time! Thanks! Kristin