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Medicine & Science
University of Texas Medical Branch
News Release
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

UTMB Opens New Transplant Clinic in the Rio Grande Valley

MCALLEN, Texas – Transplant patients in the Rio Grande Valley will have a new, state-of-the-art clinic for their checkups, doctor visits and other pre and post-operative care.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has opened a 2,500-square foot clinic at 109 E. Toronto St., Suite 300 in McAllen. Patients, families and community members can walk through the clinic at the open house on Oct. 21 from 8 a.m. to noon.

UTMB has offered transplant services and care to patients in the Valley for almost 20 years. The new clinic will make it easier for patients to see and meet with their doctors before transplant surgeries and to continue their post-transplant care.

“We are committed to providing care for patients here,” said Dr. Kristene Gugliuazza, a transplant surgeon and professor at UTMB. “It’s UTMB’s mission to support underserved areas. It is about taking our services to that community and trying to provide care to a population that needs this as an option.”

The clinic includes a variety of exam rooms, telemedicine-equipped rooms, social work consultation rooms and a patient education room for group education programs. UTMB physicians, nurses, social workers, coordinators and other staff members fly down from Galveston to McAllen one to two times per month or more frequently as needed to see patients at the new clinic. 

UTMB has been performing transplants since the 1960s. While the surgeries occur at the Galveston UTMB campus, patients in the Valley who are waiting for an organ transplant can meet with their doctor and get checkups before a procedure at the clinic. Those that have already had a transplant will be able to get their follow-up care at the McAllen clinic rather than have to make the trip to Galveston.

Telemedicine will also play a large role, said Charles Machner, administrative director of Transplant Services at UTMB.

“If a doctor in McAllen is seeing a patient and needs a surgeon consult, the doctor can call in their colleague who can remote in on their laptop and together the doctor in the room and the one on the screen can fully assess the patient and determine the best course of care,” Machner said.

Currently, UTMB offers transplant services for those needing kidney and pancreas transplants in the Valley. But the hope is to expand and offer liver and heart transplant services as well, Machner said.

“We have a comprehensive multidisciplinary transplant team that takes care of these patients from the time they are referred to us until well after organ transplantation,” Machner said. “We follow them for the life of their transplant.”

Remembering Jim Guidry GRCC Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership

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