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INDIANAPOLIS, IND — Indiana University Health celebrated two significant milestones – the 20th anniversary of the first successful intestine transplant surgery and the completion of 300 such surgeries, including 65 on children. The hospital welcomed back David Peck, their very first intestine transplant patient.


“David is one of our greatest success stories,” said Dr. Jonathan Fridell, chief of abdominal transplant surgery. “He originally presented to St. Vincent Hospital and went straight to the operating room and had to have his intestine removed. Our intestine program was just in the process of achieving renewal. It was great timing that he happened to need an intestine just as we were about to start doing them.”


David’s mom, Traci, said the family was shocked to learn how sick their son was.


Source: Ryan Hedrick / WIBC

“We had been dealing with what they (doctors) said was reflux,” said Peck. “He had a lot of testing. The night he was the sickest, his intestines had twisted up so badly from him waking up from a nap his bowel was dead and full of gangrene. At that time, they said there was nothing that they could do; he would survive 48 hours. So, to get the news that my son was a transplant candidate was just incredible.”


IU Health annually performs approximately 500 transplants (kidney, pancreas, liver, intestine/multi-visceral, heart, and lung). The IU Health transplant program ranks 26th out of 250 transplant centers in the U.S. in overall transplant volume.


“Any opportunity that I have to talk to someone and reassure them that they are making the right decision or what to expect or a shoulder to cry on, we always try to take every opportunity to support other families going through the same thing,” Traci added.


IU Health is the only healthcare system in Indiana and one of the few in the country performing intestine transplants, having completed 300 since 2003.