University of Pennsylvania Health System

Lung Transplant Update | Penn Medicine

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 .

Friday, March 7, 2014

Better than a Bucket List

~by Bethany Sprague (Guest Blogger)

 Bucket list. Does this sound depressing? Actually, I found a definition for “bucket list” that is encouraging and positive from the Urban Dictionary:

 “A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.” 

This I like. Not the definition of things to do before you die. Because, for all of us, it is and has always been, about living! Whether you are pre or post transplant, this is what it is about.

 So, think of things you want to do. If you are pre-transplant and limited, scale down your expectations so you can meet them. Maybe having a goal of improving a family relationship or contacting a long lost friend would work for you. Exercising daily to get more in shape for transplant might be a goal, or getting back to eating healthier. Perhaps, you are behind in movies or books and want to catch up! It can be as simple or complicated as you want. But, it is about doing things you want to do and being yourself!

 For those of you post-transplant, are there things you wanted to do before transplant that you could do now? What about that hike or road trip you would not have been able to do before? Maybe your goal could be to take that vacation you never went on.

 Sometimes, we get so overwhelmed by what we went through, that we don’t realize we are able to reinvent ourselves. So, find your passion and go for it! Experience and enjoy life to your fullest and look ahead positively to what is just around your corner!

 *Originally published in the St. Louis Second Wind Lung Transplant Association Newsletter.