LOCAL NEWS

Intermountain Healthcare Sets Record For Organ Transplants In 2020

Jan 28, 2021, 10:31 PM | Updated: 10:55 pm

MURRAY, Utah – Officials with Intermountain Healthcare said they performed a record 222 organ transplants in 2020 after restructuring their program to include extra precautions for COVID-19.

Even though all the Christmas decorations have been put away, Andy doesn’t pay attention to calendars.

He kept a few out in the open in their Sandy apartment.

“Andy loves ornaments and he stole this one from Christmas,” said Makelle Groves with a laugh. “He’s a good dog.”

It’s the little things that bring Andy joy. Just like they do for his mother.

“I can go out and do something,” Makelle Groves said. “I can play with my dog and go on a walk and not be exhausted.”

It’s been almost a year since Groves got the liver transplant that saved her life.

“I’m doing a lot better right now. It’s amazing. I’m healthy,” she said.

To this day, she still can’t come up with the words to thank her donor and the donor’s family.

The Groves family. (KSL-TV)

“I have so much gratitude because they didn’t have to do that,” said Groves. “It was their choice. But because they made that choice and said yes, this is something we want to do, they, like, gave me my life.”

Ron Lindsay feels the same way for his liver donor.

“It’s impossible to say thank you and adequately express that,” he said.

Lindsay knows the phone call he received in January telling him a liver was now available, which would give him more time with his wife and six children, meant someone was no longer with their family.

“We quickly realized that while our tears were tears of joy, that someone else was expressing tears of sorrow for their loss,” said Lindsay from his Highland home.

Ron Lindsay. (KSL-TV)

Lindsay and Groves were just two of the 222 organ transplants Intermountain Healthcare did in 2020.

It was a record for the medical group. Those transplants were also done during a pandemic.

“We had processes in place to keep people safe,” said Dr. Richard Gilroy, Intermountain Healthcare’s liver transplant medical director.

Gilroy said donors were screened more, as well as more virtual visits and telemedicine.

It was all to keep patients safer.

“We have an institution who values the importance of keeping people alive,” said Gilroy. “Everyone in our programs realizes we’re lucky because we get to help others.”

Gilroy also said those lives wouldn’t have been saved if not for those on the organ donation registry.

It’s something he hopes more people will consider and talk to their families about.

Groves appreciates her donor made that decision to be on the registry.

For her, it means more Christmas celebrations with her husband. And with Andy.

“They gave me my life that I didn’t have. I was so sick,” she said. “And now I’m not.”

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Intermountain Healthcare Sets Record For Organ Transplants In 2020