State approves Northwell to host Long Island’s first liver transplant program

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From left, Drs. Elliot Grodstein, Lewis Teperman, Matthew Bank and Maria Sfakianos at the entrance of North Shore University Hospital's recently opened Surgical and Transplant Intensive Care Unit. (Photo courtesy of Northwell Health)

Manhasset will be the first location on Long Island to host liver transplants.

Northwell Health’s program has been approved by the New York State Department of Health, and the network plans to begin operations at North Shore University Hospital’s Sandra Atlas Bass Center for Liver Diseases, according to the health network.

It will list its first patients later this month.

“Nearly five people die each day in the United States waiting for a liver that will never come,” Northwell President and CEO Michael Dowling said in a news release. “By establishing an adult liver transplant program on Long Island, we’re changing the narrative for thousands of New Yorkers living with this fatal disease.”

Northwell opened a new surgical and transplant intensive care unit in March designed to host the liver transplant program. The space has 20 rooms and was a nearly $26 million investment.

Northwell also hired 50 new employees to work in the liver transplant program, according to the health network.

Without a liver transplant program, Long Islanders have had to travel back and forth from New York City for the operations, said Dr. Lewis Teperman, Northwell’s director of transplant services who is leading the new liver transplant program, after the unit’s opening.

“It’s time that care for these patients be provided close to home with a minimum of disruption to their lives and that of their caregivers,” he said in the news release.

The Sandra Atlas Bass Center for Liver Diseases opened in 2016 and has offered services for patients before and after liver transplants. It also supports individuals with end-stage liver disease.

The state Department of Health gave North Shore University Hospital contingent approval for the liver transplant program in February 2018. Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn helped develop the program.

North Shore University Hospital was also home to Long Island’s first heart transplant, performed in 2018 at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital.

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