Surgeons carry out five life-saving transplant operations in 36 hours - thought to be a record for Royal Papworth Hospital

PUBLISHED: 10:06 03 March 2018

Royal Papworth's transplant team

Royal Papworth's transplant team


The tireless efforts of staff – some of whom came in to work on their day off - saw five life-saving organ transplants carried out in the space of 36 hours at the Royal Papworth Hospital.

The intense period of activity in the transplant department - believed to be a record at the hospital - took place between the afternoon of February 25 and the early hours of February 27.

More than 40 staff were involved, including five surgeons who transplanted two hearts, two double lungs and one single lung into five patients on the transplant waiting list. At one point three theatres were running transplant surgery at the same time.

Mr Pedro Catarino, clinical director of transplantation at Royal Papworth Hospital – which is celebrating its centenary in 2018 - carried out two of the transplants.

“I’ve never known it to be that busy,” he said. “Everyone pulled together amazingly – we even had staff who were not on call coming into the hospital on their day off to help, but that’s the Royal Papworth way.

“Five transplants is more than five per cent of our annual total, and in the space of a few hours. So far this [financial] year we have carried out 88 transplants and expect to do 95.”

Lead nurse for transplant Richard Quigley said the level of activity in the transplant department was “unprecedented” over the day and a half.

“I’ve certainly never seen anything like it in the 10 years I’ve been at the hospital; we were pretty much back to back. Everyone came together and gave everything; some people worked without a break.

“It’s a tribute to not only everyone in the transplant team - the surgeons, doctors, nurses and perfusionists - but to staff working right across the hospital. And of course to the donors and their families, whose actions have given these five people a second chance at life.

“I’d urge anyone who has not yet signed the NHS Organ Donor Register to do so today, and to tell their family about their wishes.”

Royal Papworth Hospital – which will move to a new, state-of-the-art hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in September - is the UK’s leading heart and lung hospital. It performs more adult heart transplants each year than any other hospital in the UK, and has the UK’s best survival rates for heart and lung transplants, according to NHS Blood and Transplant’s 2017 Annual Report on Cardiothoracic Transplantation.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, please telephone 0300 123 23 23, or go to / to register online.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ely Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ely Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ely Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

41 minutes ago

An Ely shop manager is “still in shock” after the jewellery store she works in was robbed of a £3,000 ring in broad day light.


Plans have been submitted for a railway station platform to be extended, which could see eight-car trains between King’s Lynn and Cambridge.

The driver of a Range Rover that careered into a house in Ely today was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.


An Ely-based education consultant is going the extra mile to raise funds for an orphanage in Cambodia.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Ely Standard weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy