Kidney Transplant Center


End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) occurs when kidney function falls to 15-20 percent of normal capacity, and your kidneys no longer function well enough on their own. At this time, you will need either dialysis or transplantation.

The Kidney Transplant Center, located at Gulf Coast Medical Center, serves patients who desire transplantation as their treatment option.

Why Choose Us?

Personalized Care

Our transplant team is available to you 24 hours a day. We will take time to listen to your questions and concerns and answer them in a thorough and timely manner. We will provide comprehensive care through a team composed of nephrologists, surgeons, transplant coordinators, social worker, financial coordinator, and dietician to create an individualized plan of care for you. We collaborate with donors and recipients and their referring physicians to ensure continuity of care, while guiding patient families through the emotional, financial, and medical journey toward transplant.

Expertise and Experience

The Kidney Transplant Center has performed over 800 deceased and living donor transplants. Dr. Gordon Burtch, surgical director, and Dr. Joel Van Sickler, medical director, have guided the transplant program since its beginning in 1990.

Successful Outcomes

The most recent center specific report released by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) confirms that we provide excellent results in patient and graft survival rates.

Shorter Waiting Time

In many parts of the United States, the average waiting time for a kidney from a deceased donor is three to five years. The average time on our waiting list is 20 months.

Donor Types

There are two ways in which to receive a kidney transplant:

  • Living Donor:
    A healthy person may donate one of his or her kidneys to you. This option greatly reduces the length of time you will wait for a transplant. A living donor can be a family member, spouse, or friend.
  • Deceased Donor:
    You may also receive a donated kidney from a deceased person who has previously registered to be an organ donor or whose family wishes to donate his or her organs at the time of death.

Patient Journey to Transplant

Referral Process

You, your physician, or your dialysis unit can make the initial referral to the Renal Transplant Center at Gulf Coast. After we have gathered the basic information, you will be scheduled for an educational class and your evaluation appointments.

  • Self-Referral:
    You may print and complete an on-line Self Referral Form and fax it to 239-343-0048.
  • Physician or Dialysis Center Referral:
    To refer a patient for kidney transplant evaluation or to speak with a member of our transplant team, please call 239-343-0442, Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm.

Evaluation Process

The evaluation that is performed for every patient includes, but is not limited to the following:

Education Class

On your initial visit to our transplant center, you will take part in a comprehensive education class to help you and your family become as knowledgeable as possible about the transplant process. This will include information on support services, financial obligations, patient family roles and responsibilities, nutritional counseling, surgical procedures, medications, and follow-up care.

Psychosocial Evaluation

Every patient being evaluated for kidney transplant will have a psychosocial evaluation with our transplant social worker.


You will be scheduled for appointments with the transplant nephrologist, transplant surgeon, and transplant urologist. Depending upon your medical history, you may also be scheduled to see a cardiologist, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist, or infectious disease doctor.


Testing may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Routine laboratory testing and Tissue Typing
  • Chest X-ray and EKG
  • Renal Ultrasound

Approval and Listing

Once you have completed the evaluation process, the transplant selection committee will meet to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for kidney transplant. At that time, you will be listed for kidney transplant with United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). A letter will also be sent to you detailing your rights and responsibilities while waiting for your transplant.

United Network for Organ Sharing

unos donate for life Every U.S. transplant program is a member of the United Network for Organ Sharing, also called UNOS, which is a private, non-profit organization based in Richmond, Va. UNOS maintains the national patient waiting list for all solid organ transplants, then matches donated organs with patients, collects and analyzes scientific data nationwide. To educate yourself about the transplant process, visiting the UNOS Web site.

Donate Life!

donate for lifeDid you know there are approximately 63 transplant recipients every day? However, another 16 die due to the lack of available organs. By signing a donor card or driver's license, you can say "yes" to organ and tissue donation and save a life. Discover more and print out your donor card at the Donate For Life website!

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