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In the News

In the News

The Force is with this young transplant patient

A 24 year-old woman with cystic fibrosis is starting the new year with new hope thanks to help from the U.S. Air Force, Chewbacca from "Star Wars" and a UCLA surgeon who said yes to a high-risk case. 
Kathlyn Chassey of San Antonio, Texas, was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease characterized by the build-up in the lungs of thick, sticky mucus that traps infection-causing bacteria. Chassey's father, Chris, is a chief master sergeant in the United States Air Force. Last November, when her breathing problems worsened. Her condition became critical, and she was placed on life support to take over her breathing function. The only chance of saving her life, doctors warned, was a lung transplant. Read more »

The force is with 24-year-old woman, a longtime fan of

Transplant patients ride in Rose Parade

UCLA Kidney Exchange Program participants ride on Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade. Read more »



Anonymous blood donors meet the woman whose life they saved

67 year old Shirley Polk met 15 of the 59 strangers whose blood donations made possible the transplant surgeries that saved her life. Read more »

 Anonymous blood donors meet the woman whose life they saved


Laker for a Day: Sarai Sanchez

Meet Sarai Sanchez: A brave and fun-loving 15-year-old who has spent a lifetime battling the complications of a spina bifida diagnosis, including kidney disease. Sarai underwent a life-saving kidney transplant in June of 2015 at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA - and her dad was her donor. Sarai is a passionate basketball fan, and even spent the night of her transplant watching the NBA playoffs with her father as they awaited their surgeries at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Learn more »






UCLA Health joins American Liver Foundation in the Liver Life Walk Los Angeles, raising close to $9k to fight against liver diease. 

UCLA Health liver transplant team represented in the Liver Life Walk Los Angeles hosted by the American Liver Foundation. Our very own Dr. Ali Zarrinpar chaired the event with the UCLA Liver Givers raising close to $9K to help move forward the fight against liver disease.

 'Gift certificate' enables kidney donation when convenient and transplant when needed

'Voucher' program enables kidney donation when convenient and transplant when needed.  

An innovative organ donation voucher program initiated at UCLA has started to spread to other transplant programs across the United States. Read more »

'Gift certificate' enables kidney donation when convenient and transplant when needed

A Kidney Is Always Pink! Dr. Jeffrey Veale On The Young Turks

Ana Kasparian of Young Turks interviews Dr. Jeffrey Veale and discuss how the Kidney Exchange program brings people from different backgrounds together regardless of the color of their skins. Read more »

A Kidney Is Always Pink! Dr. Jeffrey Veale On The Young Turks




6,000th Liver Transplant Performed at UCLA

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has performed its 6,000th liver transplant, a national milestone based on the United Network of Organ Sharing database. This is the most liver transplants performed at any center in the country. Read more »



Life Saving Transplant at UCLA

Video courtesy of KCAL News

Team Jake Receives Double Lung Transplant

Video courtesy of KABC News

Team Jake Waits for Lung Transplant

Video courtesy of KCAL News

Dr. Reza Jarrahy Discusses UCLA Face Transplant Program

Co-Surgical Directory of the Face Transplant Program discuss Face Transplantation with radio host Jakki Price on WKKB 1520 AM (Buffalo, NY) Listen » 

UCLA Performs First Breathing Lung Transplantation in U.S.

The lung transplant team at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical successfully performed the nation's first "breathing lung" transplant Nov 2012. The ground breaking transplant involved an experimental organ-preservation device known as the Organ Care System (OCS), which keeps donor lungs functioning and "breathing" in a near-physiologic state outside the body during transport. The current standard involves transporting donor lungs in a non-functioning, non-breathing state inside an icebox. Watch video »

UCLA's heart transplant program ranked among nation's best

UCLA's program is one of only seven heart transplant centers nationwide - and the only one in California - to be ranked at the silver level by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which has federal oversight of the nation's organ donation and transplantation network.

UCLA Transplant Doctors Honored for Life-Saving Work

State Senator Runner Honors Dr. Ardehali and Dr. RossDouble-lung transplant recipient State Senator Runner praises doctors' dedication.

The Woman Who Lived

The Atascadero News profiles Meara Schmidt who underwent a double-lung transplant.





Celebrating Nurses in Los Angeles

May 2012 Issue

Advance for Nurses profiles nurse manager of the UCLA Heart and Lung Transplant program, Caron Burch, MSN, RN, FNP, CCTC.  Read more »

California Senator Sharon Runner speaks about her experience receiving a double lung transplant

March 27, 2012

Video courtesy of KCBS Channel 2. Click here for the full story »

UCLA launches program to provide face, hand and abdominal wall transplants

July 11, 2011

While lifesaving solid-organ transplants have become increasingly common at major centers such as UCLA, reconstructive transplantation - a complex surgery involving composite tissues (bones, tendons, arteries, nerves) - marks a new direction for the field. Unlike organ transplants, which are performed to save lives, reconstructive transplants aim to dramatically improve them. 

UCLA's heart transplant program ranked best in the U.S.

Dec. 9, 2010

A new survey by an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources has recognized the heart transplant program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center as the nation's best. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) presented UCLA with the award Nov. 3 at its organ donation conference in Grapevine, Texas. The HRSA survey is designed to evaluate and recognize the country's highest performing organ transplant programs. UCLA's was the only heart transplant program in the U.S. to be ranked at the silver level. 

Associated Press Details New Study to Test Warm Beating Hearts in Transplant

Dec 6, 2010

The Associated Press on Dec. 5 featured a new multi-center study led by Dr. Abbas Ardehali, professor of cardiothoracic surgery and surgical director of the UCLA Heart Transplant program at UCLA, that is testing whether an experimental box which keeps a donated heart warm and beating can offer an improved method of transportation over the traditional way of carrying the organ on ice in a cooler. Ardehali was quoted, along with Dr. Richard Shemin, professor and chief of cardiothoracic surgery. 

Related stories:

UCLA team uncovers mechanism behind organ transplant rejection

Nov 18, 2010
by Elaine Schmidt

UCLA researchers have pinpointed the culprit behind chronic rejection of heart, lung and kidney transplants.  Published in the Nov. 23 edition of Science Signaling, their findings suggest new therapeutic approaches for preventing transplant rejection and sabotaging cancer growth.   Read more »

Their bond is sharing the gift of life

Aug 30, 2010
by Dennis McCarthy

It was a perfect night for barbecue, champagne toasts, and new friends getting the chance to match faces with the names that had come to mean so much to them. Few of the 40 people celebrating in the backyard of Fern and Ross Bloom's Chatsworth home Saturday night had met before, but you would have never known it. They gave each other warm hugs and handshakes like they were close family. In many ways, they are. Now.

All of them had either donated a kidney to - or received one from - someone there.  Read more »

UCLA launches first West coast human hand transplantation program

Jul 26, 2010

Qualified candidates are now being sought for a clinical study of the procedure. The program will help those who have suffered the traumatic loss of a hand or forearm and allow them to regain function and improve their quality of life. Learn more »

Gov. Schwarzenegger Announces Legislation to Increase Organ Donation Opportunities

Mar 19, 2010

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today joined Apple Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs and Senator Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto to announce the introduction of SB 1395, legislation that will make it easier for Californians to affirm their preferred organ donor status.  Read more »

Kidney recipients' families pay it forward

Nov 8, 2009
By Dennis McCarthy

Dr. Jefrey Veale poses with some of his kidney transplant patients (photo: Daily News - Nov 8, 2009)

Day after day after day, Fern Bloom returned to knock on Dr. Jeffrey Veale's door at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

When's it going to be my turn, the Chatsworth woman wanted to know. When can I pay back this incredible gift I've just received?

Her husband, Ross, was alive, thanks to the transplant of a kidney donated by a stranger. Now, Fern wanted to return the favor, to be that donor for someone else. Just tell her when.

"No one in the chain backed out - that's what we were a little worried about," Dr. Veale said Friday. "Everyone came through." Read full story »

Kidney  transplants at UCLA Medical Center have a domino effect

Oct 23, 2009
By Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Dr. Hans Gritsch, left, and Dr. Brian Shuch perform a kidney transplant on Donna Morrison, 67, a retired flight attendant from Santa Ana. (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times / October 22, 2009)At 8:25 Thursday morning, Dr. Peter Schulam extracted a healthy kidney from a 60-year-old woman, slipped it into a bowl of sterile ice and wheeled it into the operating room next door. The donor, Nancy Seruto, a San Dimas mother, had never met the recipient, a 67-year-old retired flight attendant from Santa Ana.

Less than two hours later, Seruto's husband was on the same operating table at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Another stranger, a 53-year-old Chatsworth mother of two, was giving him a kidney.

They were among 18 patients paired by surgeons as part of a rare transplant chain, built largely on trust.  Read full story »

Kidney Chain that pays it forward could help thousands

June 4, 2009
By CBC News

Dr. Jeffrey Veale (photo credit CBC)

Dr. Jeffrey Veale, who graduated from the University of Calgary and now works at UCLA, is one of the first doctors who promoted kidney transplant chains based on the idea of "paying it forward" - that the beneficiary of a good deed will, in turn, do one for someone else.

The chain begins with an altruistic donor who gives a kidney to someone with a relative who wanted to donate but wasn't a match. That relative's kidney is then donated to a stranger in the same situation, and the chain continues for as long as possible.  Read full story »

UCLA Heart Transplant Recipient Honored

Apr 17, 2009
By Denise Dador

UCLA Heart Transplant Recipient Bill SearsKABC-Channel 7 reported Friday on Bill Sears, who received a heart transplant at UCLA eight years ago and now volunteers full time with heart transplant patients at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and with a UCLA-based medical mission that travels to South America to aid children with heart ailments. Dr. Jon Kobashigawa, clinical professor of cardiology and medical director of UCLA's heart transplant program, was featured in the report.  Click for video and story link: Former heart patient has hope for life »

Rose Parade reunites surgeon, transplant patient after 25 years

Dec. 31, 2008
By Enrique Rivero

Milt Bemis (from left) and his wife, Janis; Dr. Busuttil holding a photograph of Matthew Bemis; and Lily and Brian Allen. [Photos: MosesSparks.com]

Among the 46 floral entries that dazzled the millions of Rose Parade watchers on the street and at home was one special float dedicated to those individuals whose invaluable donations of organs, corneas or tissue have saved and healed others in need. Read full article »


Rose-Parade Float Riders Profiled by Regional TV

Dec. 30, 2008
By Dennis Kellogg

Dr. Nicholas CacalanoKHAS-Channel 5 (Hastings, NE) on Dec. 30 profiled a husband and wife who donated their drowned two-year-old son’s liver to a California toddler who underwent her transplant 24 years ago at UCLA Medical Center. The newly married young woman was slated to ride the “Donate Life” float in the Rose Parade on New Years Day. KEYT-Channel 3 (Santa Barbara) on Dec. 23 also profiled float rider Joe Darga, a 74-year-old UCLA heart transplant recipient, who was honored for his extensive volunteer efforts to educate the public about organ donation. “One Life is Given to Save Another.” 


Couple becomes link in life-changing kidney 'chain'

Dec. 16, 2008
By Cynthia Lee / UCLA Today

Steven Shaevel and FamilySteven Shaevel has already given his wife, Gail, the best holiday gift he could ever imagine. He gave up a kidney – but not to Gail, who already received a life-saving kidney transplant from a complete stranger a month earlier at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Shaevel, director of academic personnel for the UCLA School of Dentistry, gave his kidney to another stranger, who had it transplanted at Stanford Hospital on the same day Shaevel donated it, Nov. 19. His wife received her kidney because Shaevel agreed to donate his.   Read full article »

West Clovis High Football Player with Chronic Pancreatitis Receives Islet Transplant at UCLA

Nov. 08, 2008
By Matt James / The Fresno Bee

Dr. Nicholas Cacalano

Caleb Iness woke up Thursday with an aching gut so he stayed in bed all day.

On Friday morning his mother took him to the doctor's office. They weren't sure what it might be, maybe an ulcer, more likely irritable bowel syndrome, so the doctor quadrupled his medication and Caleb went to class at Clovis West High.

That night, as he has all football season, he padded his midsection and started at right tackle for the Golden Eagles. They beat Madera High, badly.

"Caleb will go weeks and be fine," says Clovis West coach Gary Kinne. "Then he'll miss a couple practices. This week he missed Wednesday and Thursday. The kids know what's going on. They know he wouldn't miss unless it was real."

The current pain is real annoying, but it's nothing compared to where Caleb Iness has been. His teammates and classmates and teachers are aware that he has been sick, that he has suffered, that he has missed an entire year of school, but they couldn't possibly understand. 

A Daisy Chain of Kidney Donations

Sep 23, 2008
By Rhonda Rundle / The Wall Street Journal

Pamela Heckathorn received a kidney from an anonymous donor on July 30. The operation not only allowed the 51-year-old to avoid dialysis treatments; it also kicked off a chain of transplants that have benefited a number of other kidney patients.  Read full article »

UCLA Rated One of the Top Hospitals in the Nation