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Houston Hospital Suspends Heart Transplant Program After Patient Deaths

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The Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas has temporarily closed its heart transplant program. There have been three deaths and numerous staff complaints that lead the hospital to investigate the program.  ( Pixabay )

The Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center recently made headlines for temporarily closing its world-renowned heart transplant program following a series of unfortunate events.

Program Problems

The hospital announced on June 1, which several leaders confirmed, that the heart transplant program would be inactive for 14 days as the hospital investigates the situation. Due to the program's inactivity, officials revealed that they would not be accepting new donors' hearts.

Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center's staff members voiced their concerns regarding the program's decline to hospital leaders. In 2016, it was noted that several staff members were unsatisfied by the program's direction, where they even recommended that potential patients go to other medical centers for help. The program also lost several top physicians, who took new roles at other institutions.

Patient Deaths

The Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center performed nine transplants, so far, this year. One-third of the patients that received transplants this year have died. An unknown patient passed away in recent weeks. Meanwhile, 67-year-old bankruptcy lawyer Robert Barron died on May 5, three months following his transplant.

James "Lee" Lewis, 52, also passed away three months after getting a transplant. Lewis' widow, Jennifer, noted that there were numerous complications with her husband's procedure. Hospital equipment crashed during a crucial element of his surgery.

"I'm glad that they are doing something. That was my hope in speaking out and telling Lee's story," said Lewis to The Houston Chronicle.

Heart Health Matters

A team of scientists presented new research at the World Congress on Heart Failure, which showed that a high-protein diet could help heart failure patients. The study focused on older adults who had issues maintaining muscle mass and consuming less protein.

Through the study, the scientists studied their subjects' daily protein intake through their urine, creatinine, and body mass index. They found that 31 percent of their subjects died due to consuming less than 40 grams of protein a day compared to the 18 percent who ate 70 or more grams of protein.

Science journal Heart published a study that revealed that eating an egg a day could lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Scientists found through following 400,000 adults in China that people who ate an average of 0.76 eggs per day diminished their odds of developing cardiovascular disease. Researchers recommended that people could eat eggs by consuming poached or hard-boiled eggs or add vegetables to their meals.

The American Heart Association published a new advisory in their magazine, Circulation, that recommended that Americans increase their fish intake. The AHA advised that people should consume either 3 1/2 ounces of cooked fish or a three-fourths cup of flaked fish twice a week. The health organization noted that people who ate fish twice a week reduced the risk of getting heart failure and cardiac arrest.

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