Kidney Transplant Record at Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center Broken After 25 Years

Jewish Hospital

Christopher Jones, MD,
Transplant Service Line Program Director
A record-setting number of patients received a lifesaving kidney transplant in 2018 at the Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center, one of the leading providers of organ transplantation in the country. The center is a joint program with the University of Louisville School of Medicine and Jewish Hospital.

The annual record for the most kidney transplants performed in the center’s 53-year history was broken on December 27, 2018 with 106 kidneys transplanted, breaking a record previously set in 1993. In total, the Trager Transplant Center has now completed more than 3,000 kidney transplants.

“We are overjoyed to have achieved this milestone in 2018. Thanks to organ donation, so many lives are saved each year and our numbers continue to grow,” said Chris Jones, MD, Transplantation Program Director at Jewish Hospital and chief of the division of Transplant Surgery at University of Louisville Physicians and the UofL School of Medicine. “More than anything, we are honored to be the trusted medical center of choice for these kidney transplant patients and their families.”

In addition to the record-setting number of kidney transplants, 18 were attributed to living donors. Living kidney donation takes place when a living person donates one of their kidneys to someone in need of a transplant. This donor can be a friend, relative or an anonymous donor.

In 2010, Paul Kichler was living in Chicago with his wife and twin babies when he was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease that caused his other organs to shut down. He was told he only had two weeks to live and underwent surgery, however, he knew he would eventually need a kidney transplant. Paul and his family moved to Louisville to be close to family, and Paul reached out to Jewish Hospital.

“It got to the point around 2016 where I was at 12 percent kidney function and the doctors said it was time to start thinking about a transplant,” Paul Kichler said. “At my age of 30, it was recommended to try to find a living donor. I got the word out to friends, family and strangers, and my very close friend and now kidney brother – a neighbor of mine – ended up being my number one match, and in September of 2016, my now kidney brother, Aaron, donated his kidney to me, and he’s doing very well and I’m doing very well. We are so fortunate to be here to be able to talk about the wonderful care we had at Jewish Hospital.”

Jewish Hospital performed its first living donor kidney transplant in 1964. There are many benefits to living kidney donation, including better outcomes for the organ recipient, decreased wait time for a transplant and advanced preparation time for surgery.

To learn more about the Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center and their kidney transplant programs, visit To learn about living kidney donation, call 502.587.4939.