5 Organ Transplants in 1 Day Marks a Milestone for Chile

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Thanks to an organ donor and his family's generosity, a surgical team in South America recently gave four individuals a new lease on life — while achieving a major feat in organ donation. 

Clínica Santa María’s Transplant Center in Santiago, Chile performed five transplants in one day, marking the first time in the country that a single institution has simultaneously transplanted that many organs from the same donor.

The heart, liver, lung and kidney-pancreas transplants transformed the lives of four patients, ages 40 to 66, who have all successfully recovered. Forty-year-old Margarita Cofré had been dependent on dialysis and waited three years for an organ donor. She was the recipient of a kidney-pancreas transplant. 

“My situation was a very complex one; I was deteriorating and needed a transplant. They gave me the gift of life,” she said.

Other recipients included: 

  • Elena Cayún, 49, who received a heart transplant. Elena suffered from heart failure due to cardiomyopathy.
  • Osvaldo Cancico, 55, who received a liver transplant. Osvaldo had multiple neuroendocrine tumors in his liver. 
  • Mauricio Figueroa, 66, who received a lung transplant. Mauricio had been hospitalized in Clínica Santa María for seven months, due to pulmonary fibrosis.

The surgical team, along with the rest of the hospital staff, worked together to efficiently and successfully carry out the transplant procedures. 

“Doing five simultaneous transplantations is a milestone for our country,” said Dr. Javier Chapochnick, chief medical officer, Liver and Pancreas Transplant Program at Clínica Santa María. “It required an amazing multidisciplinary team and an enormous institutional effort, given the high complexity of the logistics. Everything worked perfectly.”  

Clínica Santa María is part of UnitedHealthcare’s local health services provider, Banmédica, which provides health care services and benefits in Chile, Colombia and Peru.

April is National Donate Life Month in the United States. Sign up to be an organ donor through your state’s registry.