Let's Meet: The Surgical Recovery Team

When a family agrees to donate the organs of their loved one, they know that they are making a life-saving decision for the people who will receive those organs. The next step, the delicate recovery of those organs, requires the combined genius of the 12 members of the UW Health Organ Procurement Organization surgical recovery team.


Each person on the team has a very important role and their expertise - some members have 15 years of experience in their roles - proves that dedication and a passion for their mission equals success for the recipients of those organs. In 2008, a record-breaking year for the UW Health Organ Procurement Organization, the team provided service on 197 donor cases and recovered organs in 27 different states.

The UW Health Organ Procurement Organization Surgical Recovery Team

The Surgical Recovery Team

Drs. Janet Bellingham, Steve Hanish, John LaMattina, Philip Wai and Nikole Neidlinger are an important part of successful organ procurement. These surgeons, who are surgical fellows at UW Hospital and Clinics, ensure that each organ is carefully removed following very strict guidelines and in the best possible condition for a successful transplant.

Michael Anderson, PA-C, manager of surgical recovery services, and Dr. Mete Dolapci are the two surgical recovery specialists. Their role is to train surgical fellows on how to recover abdominal organs for transplant. This is an essential role, as their years of experience and the thousands of procurement surgeries they've done, are imperative to continuing the training of new surgeons. Given the number of donors and recovery surgeries the Organ Procurement Organization manages, they must maintain a large stable of highly-trained recovery surgeons to meet the needs of the donors and recipients.

The surgical recovery coordinators (SRCs) play an extremely important role in the recovery of organs, as they are responsible for preparing preservation solutions and other surgical supplies needed for the recovery. They are also responsible for labeling, packaging, storing, shipping and receiving organs.


In addition, they place donor kidneys on the kidney pump to keep them viable for transplant and also collect the data associated with each recovery. As coordinators on each donor case, they are also responsible for communication with operating room staff at the donor hospitals.


The SRCs work closely with staff members at donor hospitals to ensure hospitals have what is needed for a successful organ recovery. Without these coordinators the successful departure and arrival of the organs would not be possible. The surgical recovery coordinators at the UW Health Organ Procurement Organization are Chris Anderson, James Anderson, Matthew Bock, Alex Krichevsky and Robert Verhelst.

All members of this highly-trained team are responsible for talking to donor families to answer their questions about the donation process. They must also communicate with the ICU and operating room teams at the donor hospital to arrange the donation surgery space and answer any questions they may have. Their main goal is to preserve, recover and package the organs so they arrive at the transplant center in perfect condition and ready for transplant. All of the hard work from the team leads to an organ that is in the best possible condition and that will lead to a positive transplant outcome for each recipient.