At one hospital, four heart transplants in 24 hours

I just want to be 35. I want to do 35-year-old things. . . . I just want to live the rest of my life,” said Shayla Titus (above), shown recovering after her heart transplant.
THE BOSTON GLOBE | Reis Thebault

At Tufts Medical Center, many patients linger on a waiting list for a new heart. But on June 15, that list — which regularly tops 100 — got a bit shorter.

On that day, surgeons conducted four heart transplants.

Tufts performs the most heart transplants in New England, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. But four in one day?

“It’s not ideal and it stresses the system to the max,” said Dr. Frederick Chen, chief of cardiac surgery at Tufts. But when hearts are available for transplant, and they are a match, the hospital has to make it work, he said.

“It is our duty,” Chen said.

Tufts has more patients on the transplant list — by far — than any other New England hospital, with 122 people as of June 24. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, that’s more than triple the number of any other hospital in the region. Continue reading
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