U.S. reaches medical milestone with millionth organ transplant

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(ABC 6 News) – The U.S. counted its millionth organ transplant on Friday, a milestone that comes at a critical time for Americans still desperately waiting for that chance at survival.

A milestone not only for the lives saved from organ donations but also on the medical front as the nation leads the world in organ transplants.

Mayo Clinic leads the country with the largest integrated transplant center with campuses in Minnesota, Arizona, and Florida.

To date – the Rochester location alone has performed seven thousand successful organ transplants.

Dr. Taner with Mayo Clinic’s transplant center says it is a privilege to help people in need.

“A remarkable milestone, if you think about it no other country has ever reached that number, the U.S. is the only country that has transplanted 1 million people, the numbers are increasing every year, for the past 11 years, and every year is a record year,” Transplant surgeon Timucin Taner said.

Dr. Taner was the surgeon who performed one of Carly Kelly’s transplants.

Carly was born with a rare liver disease. She had her first transplant at 8 years old and her father was her donor.

Since then, she has had two more, one in 2019 and another in 2020.

“Before transplant you’re not really living, I couldn’t walk up the stairs. I could barely get my shoes and socks on and when your liver is failing you get a lot of fluid on your abdomen, so then your lungs suffer and the whole body is shutting down and it’s really a scary,” Transplant recipient
Carly Kelly said.

Carly says she is so grateful for all three of her life-saving gifts.

Just this year – she ran and biked a 5k with her dad. She encourages everyone to consider being a donor and helping to improve the quality of life of someone.

If you would like to learn more on how to become a donor, click here.