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New Home Coming For Transplant Patients, Families At Florida Hospital

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Abe Aboraya/WMFE
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida Hospital is gearing up to open a home for transplant patients.

The Bartch House at Florida Hospital in Orlando is expected to open soon. It will be a low-cost or free home away from home for organ transplant patients and their families.

The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients shows that Florida Hospital performed more than 500 organ transplants during the last year and a half period they track; most of those were kidney transplants.

Florida Hospital said the average transplant patient has 40 appointments and stays in the hospital for two to three weeks, but can sometimes stay for months. More than 200 patients in the last year traveled more than 50 miles to come to the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute.

And that’s where the 24-bed Bartch Transplant House comes in. It offers a low-cost, and sometimes free, place to stay. It also has a huge kitchen and laundry room to help patients save money there.

“If they’re here all day being evaluated for an organ transplant on the outpatient side, if they’re sick enough they may have to be admitted to the hospital, so it creates a burden of where are these family members gonna stay,” said Dr. Barry Friedman, the director of the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute. “Even though we have great facilities in the Orlando area for hotels and apartments, it can become very costly.”

The Bartch House has 24 beds, and spans 21,000 square feet on a lake by Florida Hospital’s Orlando campus. The Florida Hospital Transplant Institute offers kidney, pancreas, heart and lung transplants.

Dr. Robert Metzger was one of the founders of Florida Hospital’s transplant program in the 1970s. He said cost can be a barrier for transplant patients.

“That’s always been an issue, as long as I’ve been here,” Metzger said. “Financial disincentives for getting a transplant are real. And travel and expenses are one of the bigger problems.”

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.