University of Pennsylvania Health System

Lung Transplant Update | Penn Medicine

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Congratulations to Our Organ Donor DASH Team!

Congratulations and thank you to the DASH for Organ Donor Awareness Team Penn Medicine!

Thanks to the support of Penn patients, caregivers and staff, it was a record-breaking year for Team Penn Medicine at the 2014 DASH for Organ Donor Awareness. In addition to winning both Gift of Life contests and earning two tents and two port-o-potties, here are some highlights of the Team Penn Medicine’s accomplishments at the 2014 DASH:
  • #1 healthcare organization for online registration
  • Largest DASH for Organ Donor Awareness Team
  • Raised nearly $10,000.00*
“This year’s team was truly remarkable,” said team captain Rebecca Farrell, BSN, RN. “Every year we continue to be inspired by our patients and by the incredible generosity of donor families who make transplant a possibility.”

At last count, there were approximately 226 team members – a number that will likely increase when the on-site registrations are tallied. Interestingly, the top two fundraisers this year for Team Penn Medicine this year shared quite a bit in common. Both are cardiothoracic transplant recipients who were transplanted less than 14 months ago. Each of them raised more than $1,000.00 for the DASH and, not only did they both do the 5K race, they both surprised themselves with their race times.

Stephen Orloff, first-place fundraiser
First-place fundraiser, Stephen Orloff, a bilateral lung transplant recipient who received his transplant in June of 2013 explained that his intention with fundraising was to do his best to “pay it forward.” Stephen raised $1,670.00 in online donations for the DASH and expects that number to go up when the onsite donations are calculated.

“I just couldn’t believe that 10 months after transplant I beat the goal I set for myself by six minutes!” Stephen said. “I’ll have to give Ed Cantu [Surgical Director of the Lung Transplant Program] – a big hug the next time I see him.”

Navaz Mehta, heart transplant patient
Navaz Mehta, a transplant recipient who received her new heart in April 2013, raised $1,195.00. She was equally as surprised with her 5K race time.

“One year ago, I would have never expected to be able to run a 5K,” said Navaz. “In November, my mile was taking about 14 minutes; at the DASH, it was down to 11.04 minutes. It was so exciting to see how many people came out to support Team Penn Medicine and this important cause.”

Navaz went on the say that she extends her thanks and appreciation to the ICU staff, VAD Team, and the nursing and clinical staff on Founders 10 and Silverstein 10 who took care of her during her 7-week stay at Penn. She added, “I will also be eternally grateful to the Cardiac Transplant Team for all they have done to help get me back to my normal life. I look forward to having them oversee my progress in the many years to come."

We’ll provide an update when the final numbers become available. If you’d like to share your story about the 2014 DASH for Organ Donor Awareness, please contact  Nancy Blumenthal, MSN, CRNP at

* final numbers released in 4-6 weeks

Monday, April 7, 2014

Wish Dr. Kotloff Farewell

By now you’ve likely received our letter letting you know that Dr. Robert M. Kotloff, former Director of Lung Transplantation and Chief of Advanced Lung Disease at Penn Medicine has accepted an offer to serve as Chief of the Pulmonary Division at the Cleveland Clinic.

While it’s difficult to have our dear colleague and friend depart, we are excited for him and his new opportunity and thankful for the many years we’ve had the honor and privilege to partner with him in serving patients.

As we prepare to say our goodbyes – we wanted to give lung transplant patients and their caregivers a way to share well wishes with Dr. Kotloff.

To help demonstrate the incredible impact that Dr. Kotloff has made here at Penn, we are collecting notes and photos from patients to be presented to Dr. Kotloff in early May. We’d love to surprise him with this lovely gesture - so mum’s the word!

If you’d like to share a thank-you message, special story or photo with Dr. Kotloff, please email them to or, mail them to:

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Attention: Nancy Blumenthal, Nancy Blumenthal, MSN, CRNP, Clinical Director, Penn Lung Transplant Program
3400 Spruce Street /Ground Gates
Philadelphia, PA 19104

If possible, please try to send your contribution to Dr. Kotloff’s farewell by Friday, April 18th.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to let Dr. Kotloff know how his care has impacted you and your family. We look forward to encouraging him with your correspondence.

Friday, March 21, 2014

New National Record Set in Organ Donation

Thanks to the generosity of local organ donors and their families, Gift of Life Donor Program, the federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) serving our region, coordinated 447 organ donors in 2013 – the highest number of organ donors ever coordinated by an OPO in the United States. This record-setting year made 1,226 transplants possible - 78 of which were lung transplants.

When asked what the new national record means to him in his work serving lung transplant patients, lung transplant social worker Christopher Erickson, MSW, LCSW explained, “As I support lung transplant patients and care givers who are waiting for lungs to become available, it’s incredibly encouraging to know that Gift of Life is a national and international leader in organ donation." He went on to note that, “in addition to coordinating the donation process and advocating for transplant recipients, Gift of Life provides exceptional support for donor families on an ongoing basis after the donation takes place.” Erickson went on to say that this follow-up bereavement care is one example of the organization’s commitment to serving donor families and advocating for those on the waiting list.

Live donors at the 2014 Gift of Life living donors ceremony
While the new national record is impressive, it’s important to note that calculating the total number of organ donors in one year does not take into account the total population in each OPO’s service area. Generally, OPOs serving more populated regions typically coordinate more donors than OPOs serving regions with fewer people. To account for this variable, an additional measure of OPO effectiveness takes into account regional population differences by calculating "donors-per-million." Donors per million helps distinguish how many organ donors are coordinated per one million people in a particular region.

For example, there are approximately 10.3 million people in the Gift of Life service area, which includes eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and the state of Delaware. In 2013, Gift of Life coordinated 43.4 donors per one million people in our region - ranking Gift of Life among the most effective OPOs in the world and reflecting the compassionate and giving spirit of the region.

“Gift of Life is committed to clinical excellence.  They are compassionate in their care of donor families and solemn in honoring the last wish of each donor,” said Nancy Blumenthal, CRNP, director of clinical practice and senior nurse practitioner, Penn Lung Transplant Program. “We share that commitment and are grateful for their partnership in caring for our patients.”

If you are interested in supporting the work of the Gift of Life Donor Program, consider participating in the DASH for Organ Donor Awareness by joining Team Penn Medicine. The event offers 3k, 5k and 10k options and is great for the whole family. This year, the event will take place on Sunday, April 13th at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Click here for a step-by-step guide to join the team.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Team Penn Medicine ties for First Place in the 2014 DASH for Organ & Tissue Donor Awareness Online Registration Contest

Congratulations to Team Penn Medicine for winning the DASH for Organ Donor Awareness online registration contest! Thanks to the support of patients, caregivers, staff and friends of Penn Transplant Institute, the team tied for first place by registering 50 people online in two weeks.

“It’s so exciting to watch our team come together, set a goal and reach it,” said Team Captain Rebecca Farrell, BSN, RN CCTC. “We are already about one-third of the way towards our $7,000 fund raising target and our hope is to set another Team Penn Medicine record by exceeding that goal.”

The prize is a dedicated Team Penn Medicine Port-o-Potty at the team tent. For newcomers to the DASH, a port-o-potty may not sound like a prize to be excited about, but come DASH morning - when thousands of DASHers are at the Philadelphia Art Museum and hundreds are lining up at rows of port-o-potties before start time - that special Penn port-o-potty becomes a prized possession. It’s especially important with Team Medicine membership goal of 250 DASHers!

Currently, the official Team Penn Medicine roster is at 85. Team captain Rebecca Farrell notes that it’s common for registrations to increase about two weeks before the event, as people’s plans for the DASH weekend come into focus.

“This year we are encouraging early registration,” Farrell said. “The online registration contest is definitely a big help but now we need to get out into the community and spread the word. With 18 people a day dying on the transplant waiting list, and people saying ‘no’ to donation based on myths and misconceptions, raising money at the DASH to support community education is absolutely critical.”

If you’ve already registered with Team Penn Medicine: thank you! If you haven’t yet jumped online to register, fair warning: it can be a bit tricky to make sure you are signing up with Team Penn Medicine. To help simplify the process, we have a step-by-step guide to the DASH registration site. 

For questions about Team Penn Medicine, please contact Team Captain Rebecca Farrell at .