Amid COVID-19 Crisis, Centura Transplant Safely Performs First Kidney Transplant Successfully

Dean Murray

To look at him now, you would never know 71-year-old Dean Murray received a new kidney in mid-March.

“Oh I feel great. The team of doctors did a great job and I’m very happy about it,” Dean said. He spoke with Fox 31 news about the life-saving procedure, which was the first transplant surgery since the opening of Centura Transplant.

Watch the story here.

“I needed a kidney and wanted a kidney, and was thankful I was getting one,” Dean told the TV station. He had been on dialysis for over two years before a kidney from a deceased donor became available.

Dean said he wasn’t concerned about safety and knew he would be protected in spite of the COVID situation since Porter Adventist Hospital and the transplant team took careful precautions including isolating him from other patients and implementing visitor restrictions throughout the hospital.

“He’s doing wonderfully,” said Dr. Tom Collins, who is the director of Centura Transplant and performed the surgery along with Dr. Giridhar Vedula on March 15. “We’re excited to be able to give him a new kidney and for him to be the first of many transplant recipients in our program.”

“It’s beyond a gift. It’s just an amazing thing,” Murray’s wife Pat said.

Since Dean is now immunosuppressed, he and Pat are taking extensive precautions during the pandemic, but they are still making regular visits to Centura Transplant for follow-up appointments and say they feel safe doing so. “Coming here is our social life now,” Pat said with a laugh. “We just love the team, they’re our friends and we know Dean will be safe and protected here.”

During the pandemic, many programs across the country put their living donor transplants on hold. Centura Transplant is now evaluating when to start those again. They do have some patients waiting to be scheduled.

“Our ability to transplant safely has evolved, so now that the COVID crisis seems to have peaked, we are revisiting how and when we are going to transplant patients,” Collins said.

Learn more about Centura Transplant and read how you can become an organ donor.