The gift of life

Press Release

Transplant Services among most active in country

Texas Children’s Hospital has one of the most active pediatric transplant programs in the United States. In 2016, 86 organ transplants were performed at Texas Children’s - 32 kidney transplants, 25 heart transplants, 21 liver transplants and 8 lung transplants - making Texas Children’s one of the most active pediatric transplant program in the nation, per the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

Some of last year’s highlights include:

  • The heart transplant program finished the year as the No. 1 pediatric heart transplant program in the country.
  • The lung transplant program tied with St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s for the No. 1 pediatric lung transplant program in the country.
  • The kidney transplant program ended the year as the No. 2 pediatric kidney transplant program in the country, experiencing its highest volume since the program’s inception in 1988.
  • The liver and lung programs teamed up to complete a liver/lung transplant.

Behind the statistics, there’s an exceptionally experienced and well-coordinated transplant program that draws on numerous medical, surgical and support specialties, and transplant coordinators who play an essential role in connecting recipients with prospective donors.


“I believe our success is a testimony to the skill and commitment of our multidisciplinary team,” said Dr. John Goss, medical director of Texas Children’s Transplant Services. “Our team offers an interdisciplinary approach to all aspects of the transplant process, from initial referral to hospitalization and outpatient management. We also work closely with patients, families and referring physicians to help make the evaluation process as convenient and efficient as possible.”

Four transplants in a day

The skills of the transplant services team were on conspicuous display on March 11, 2016. Two days earlier, the renal transplant coordinators received notice that two kidneys were available and were a match to two Texas Children’s patients. On Thursday, two other calls came: two additional kidneys were available, and were a match for two more patients.

The team sprang into action: families were notified, patients packed for the trip to the hospital, and surgical and medical teams were assembled and briefed. On Friday, over the course of 18 hours, the renal transplant team successfully completed all four transplants - the most ever performed on a single day at Texas Children’s. The patients ranged in age from 4 to 28 years old. The 28-year-old had been on dialysis for 13 years awaiting a suitable kidney.

“Our biggest reward that day was the thanks and appreciation from the patients and their families for getting new kidneys,” said Dr. Eileen Brewer, medical director of renal transplantation at Texas Children’s. “These patients can look forward to a great future.”

Jeston and No. 99

Another transplant patient with an inspiring story is Jeston Adams. The 8-year-old boy and his mother moved to Houston in January 2016 in hopes of getting Jeston a new heart. He was being kept alive by a ventricular assist device he carried in a backpack. What wasn’t clear was when – or if – a suitable donor heart would become available.


During his time on the Texas Children’s transplant service registry, Jeston’s care team learned he was a huge fan of Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. Watt, who wears No. 99 on the field, is a regular visitor to Texas Children’s Hospital. When he heard about Jeston, he paid him a visit, and the two became fast friends.

“Big brother, little brother,” Jeston said. “Like that.”

After their initial meeting, the two had the chance to get together for some practice on the field at the Texans 2016 summer training camp. And only a couple of weeks later, Jeston’s mom received the call from Texas Children’s they had hoped for: a donor heart was available. After a 14-hour surgery, performed by Texas Children’s heart surgeon Dr. Iki Adachi, Jeston was on his way to recovery with a new heart and a lasting friendship with an NFL super star.