Gift of Life Michigan urges transplant community to take health and safety precautions

hagancropped

In the wake of the rapidly spreading new strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, experts urge transplant recipients to use extra caution to protect themselves and their loved ones.

The virus, first detected last year, is particularly dangerous to the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, and many organ transplant recipients fall under that latter category. There is no direct information about whether COVID-19 infection is more likely in transplant recipients compared with healthy people, but it is important to take precautions, said Dr. Michael Hagan, patient safety officer at Gift of Life Michigan.

“They just have to be more careful,” said Hagan, a former ER doctor who is also a liver recipient. “We are at a higher risk, theoretically, because of our compromised immune systems.”

Hagan said it’s important to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for social distancing. The recommendations are applicable not just for transplant recipients but for everyone. They include:

  • Stay at home whenever possible and try to maintain a six-foot distance between yourself and other people if you must go out.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Do not travel, particularly to areas with a high number of cases.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap, for at least 20 seconds each time. Use hand sanitizers, too.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes and discard tissues right away.
  • If any family member has recently traveled to an area with high Covid-19 activity, avoid contact with them for 14 days to ensure they are healthy.
  • If you think you are experiencing any symptoms of the virus – which include fever, dry cough, shortness of breath and other flu-like symptoms – contact your physician.

The American Society of Transplantation has put together a comprehensive list of common questions and answers, as well as other advice. The National Kidney Foundation has provided tips for patients on dialysis, too.

Hagan said anyone who still has questions should contact their personal care team.

Transplant recipients should also make sure that their family, friends and acquaintances follow the guidelines.

“I wish everyone would follow these recommendations,” Hagan said. “There are some people who are not taking this very seriously. It’s a serious issue. We all need to do our part.”

Read More Posts
Municipal clerk holding map of Michigan

Does your company or organization want to help save lives?

Gift of Life is looking for workplace partners who can make a difference   With…

Read More
Justin Shilling, who was killed at the Oxford High School shooting in November 2021 and became an organ and tissue donor

Mom helps Oxford High School students remember friend and classmate who saved six lives

Justin Shilling’s legacy as an organ and tissue donor is helping his mother navigate the…

Read More
Slide featuring Anne Kowalczyk, Gift of Life's long-time Chief Financial Officer

Gift of Life veteran leader receives national Lifetime Achievement award

After more than three decades in leadership at Gift of Life Michigan, the Association of…

Read More
Todd Hart in scrubs sitting in a survival flight helicopter

Staff Spotlight: Todd Hart is responsible for organs on their journey to transplant

Todd Hart saves lives by taking care of organs from the second they leave the…

Read More

Volunteer Spotlight: Recipient launches charity, raises money in honor of 20th anniversary of her lung transplant

Ronda Harrison never thought she’d live to see 50.   Born with cystic fibrosis (CF), the…

Read More
How many lives can an organ donor save?

How Many Lives Can an Organ Donor Save?

With more than 106,000 Americans currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, there’s no question…

Read More
Scroll to Top