OHSU suspends heart transplant program for at least two weeks

Delenn Hollander

The only heart transplant program in Oregon is suspended for at least two weeks, after a vital specialist and two others from the team left the program.

According to Oregon Health & Science University, that means no new patients and no heart transplants for those on the wait list.

FOX 12 spoke with a young woman who said this announcement could be life or death for her.

21-year-old Delenn Hollander grew up in Portland. She had her first open heart surgery at 6 years old.

She has had to drop out of school because of her condition and now says she desperately needs a heart transplant.

Hollander said she is on the wait list at OHSU and says she's running out of time.

"I was born with a congenital heart defect. It's a laundry list full of things," she said.

A new scar traces her chest. She said it comes from an attempted valve repair at OHSU, then a valve replacement in December at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

But Hollander is still having problems.

“It worked for two or three months and then I ended up back in the hospital with more heart failure,” she said.

Hollander came to terms with the fact she would need a heart transplant and said she has been on OHSU's list since then.

But with the news the program would be suspended for at least 14 days, Hollander feels helpless.

“I feel like I've wasted precious time trying to fight my way to get onto the OHSU transplant list,” she said.

Hollander said every day counts for people in her position.

"The longer I wait for that transplant, the longer I have to push off school, the longer I have to push off the rest of my life. And for a 21-year-old that's really hard,” she said.

Hollander said she did not hear any of this from her doctors at OHSU and is upset.

She said she just wishes she would have known ahead of time so she could have gotten a head start on a wait list elsewhere.

OHSU did say its staff is working with patients and their families to answer questions and address concerns.

It also said it’s using this 14-day “pause” of its program to pursue opportunities and make sure it has adequate staff and support for existing patients.

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