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For many families, one of the toughest parts of the transplantation process is waiting for a suitable organ to be found. The length of time will vary depending on several factors: the type of transplant needed, your child's blood type, the severity of his or her illness, and his or her weight and height. The transplant team will give you an approximate estimation of your child's waiting time.
The transplant team will look for a new organ that matches your child's as closely as possible. This will give your child the best chance for a successful transplant. Your child, as well as any potential donors, will have their blood tested to make sure the blood types are compatible.
Some organs, like the liver, can be transplanted from living donors. If a living donor is found for your child, the wait can be as short as a couple of weeks. The transplant can be scheduled as soon as your child and the donor have finished being tested. If a living organ donor can't be located, your child will be put on a computerized national waiting list to receive an organ from a cadaveric donor, or a person who was seriously ill or injured and did not survive. There are many people on the lists, so the average wait time for an organ transplant may take months or even years to receive a transplant.
Once your child is placed on the waiting list, you will receive a confirmation letter, and your child's primary care physician will continue to monitor and deal with any day-to-day health concerns. You may be issued a beeper if your family travels or is away from home for extended periods. You will be assigned a transplant coordinator, who will be available to answer any questions or deal with any concerns you may have while waiting for a suitable organ. As soon as an available organ is matched to your child, the transplant coordinator will call you; you'll have to go to the hospital immediately. Keep in mind that your coordinator must be able to get a hold of you at any time, so you should prepare a list of numbers of your friends and relatives for the coordinator.
However long the wait ends up being, you may feel powerless, like there is nothing you can do during this time. Your most important job as a parent now is to help your child stay healthy and calm as possible. Although you can't predict when you will receive the call, there are a number of things you can do to prepare for that day and improve your child's chances for a successful transplant. Taking action may help you feel better, too.
You may need to leave for the hospital at a moment's notice, so get whatever you can ready now.
This may be hard to do at the same time you are trying to make preparations, given all the uncertainty and stress. However, it is important to make the effort.
Learn more about the UNOS Waiting List.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
With myCHP, you can request appointments, review test results, and more.
For questions about a hospital bill call:
To pay your bill online, please visit UPMC's online bill payment system.
Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Visit Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation's website to make a donation online.