Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons’ Dr. Hunter Kirkland was recently featured in a story on KEYE-TV alongside his heart transplant patient Lemeul Bradshaw. Dr. Kirkland is one of our board-certified cardiothoracic surgeons specializing in heart transplantation.
Transplant patients are unique in that they live most days of their life — current Covid-19 crisis or not — socially distancing themselves to keep safe and healthy.
These patients are under an increased risk now because they have a severely compromised immune system and must take extreme caution while their bodies are already working extra hard to accept their new organ.
“They’re extremely vulnerable because they’re all on immune-suppressant medications to keep them from rejecting their organs that have been implanted,” Dr. Kirkland said.
Lemuel recently received his second heart transplant at Ascension Seton just before the virus situation became serious in Austin. He is one of the fortunate, and final, heart transplant patients able to undergo this life-saving surgery before a lockdown on all surgeries was mandated. Many transplant surgeries are on hold right now.
Lemuel’s follow-up visits with Dr. Kirkland are currently being conducted remotely via telemedicine so that he does not have to enter any medical facilities, which are all deemed high-risk areas presently.
Dr. Kirkland says that all transplant patients will have to remain vigilant about social distancing, and wearing masks, to protect themselves even after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.
CTVS reminds their heart transplant patients–and everyone–to stay safe right now by practicing social distancing, wearing masks when on essential errands, and washing hands thoroughly after returning home from any outing.