LifeLink – Transplantation At Its Best
The LifeLink – Tampa General relationship still confuses me a bit. Frankly when I arrived in Tampa, I was pretty focused on being admitted to the program. I had heard good things and did not care who was in charge. I had heard about Dr. Hoffman, the cardiologist, and Dr. Sheffield, the surgeon. After two years of waiting in New York, it was time for a change.
To this date. I have not entered the LifeLink main building, although I have met a few of the Foundation’s employees. Once Hoffman and Sheffield did their magic, I really wanted to know more.
As I see it, LifeLink provides the services that bring the organ and the patient together. In Tampa, LifeLink provides transplant operations at Tampa General Hospital, but there is much behind-the-scenes activity that takes place in the LifeLink headquarters.
According to their website, the core of LifeLink is the LifeLink Foundation, which is composed of six divisions. The LifeLink HealthCare Institute is the transplant wing. Both entities are non-profit community service organizations. The LifeLink commitment is to, “work with all patients referred to us in consultation, regardless of their ability to pay, and assist them whenever possible in securing the necessary funding for their care and support through our social services department.”
The LifeLink Foundation focuses on the “recovery of life-saving and life-enhancing organs and tissue for transplantation therapy.” The Foundation works diligently to increase donor awareness and increase the availability of organs as well as “improve the clinical outcomes.” The LifeLink foundation works closely with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
The LifeLink HealthCare institute provides “multi-specialty medical care with a specific emphasis on life-saving and life-enhancing organ transplantation therapy.”
To me, this means the Foundation is busy researching, locating and procuring the organs while the Institute takes care of the actual wait-list, transplant patient care. The HealthCare Institute is one of six divisions.
The Institute commenced a successful kidney transplant program before progressing into liver, heart, lung and pancreas transplantation. All the talented physicians associated with these procedures are employees of LifeLink.
LifeLink works closely with Tampa General, the University of South Florida (USF) College of Medicine and All Children’s Hospital. In my case, I have had the good fortune to be treated by many USF nursing staff and surgeons. However, my cardiologist, Dr. Hoffman has been my guiding light and has taught me much about the discipline of waiting and recovery.
From the minute I met Dr. Sheffield, I knew everything was going to be fine. The man inspires confidence. My orientation was quite different than in New York, but it was personal, comfortable and courteous. LifeLink practitioners manage to maintain their professionalism, yet relate to the patient.
In a later article, I will describe all the team members that have contributed to my pre and post-op care. Their combined efforts inspired me to become a better patient than I thought was possible.