One of the most interesting medical developments I have read from this week comes from RTE -
St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin has said that its pancreas transplant is now live, over two years after the programme first transferred from Beaumont hospital.
No pancreas transplants have been performed here since the retirement of the surgeon who founded the programme, Dr David Hickey, from Beaumont Hospital at the end of 2014.
The waiting list for transplants had been suspended and people with transplants were told to go to an emergency department when they required urgent care, despite the risk of infection this involved.
Beaumont’s failure to continue the programme was heavily criticised by Dr Hickey and patients on the waiting list, who expressed a fear they might die before the programme was restarted.
It was subsequently agreed to transfer the programme to St Vincent’s, which has expertise in pancreatic cancer.
Two consultants and a transplant fellow have been appointed to the programme at St Vincent’s Hospital. Two transplant coordinators and a transplant nursing clinical facilitator have also been appointed.
St Vincent’s Hospital says it has received 25 referrals, 12 women and 13 men for kidney and pancreas transplants.
An industrial relations issue over the staffing of the unit was resolved before Christmas and agreement has now been reached with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation on staffing and rostering.
A spokesperson for St Vincent’s Hospital said all patients have been notified, that the programme is now live.
The spokesperson said there is continuous contact with patients and all have undergone pre-operative surgical and anaesthetic evaluations and assessment.
However it said no transplants have taken place yet and “it is impossible to say precisely when operations will be carried out” as the timing depends on a suitable donor recipient match
So what is the Pancreas and what does it do?
The pancreas is an organ located in the abdomen.
It plays an essential role in converting the food we eat into fuel for the body’s cells.
The pancreas has two main functions: an exocrine function that helps in digestion and an endocrine function that regulates blood sugar