ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A local transplant surgeon reflects on more than five decades of kidney transplants at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

“We reached a very monumental milestone for our program. We performed our 5,000th kidney transplant,” says Dr. Jason Wellen, the surgical director of the kidney and pancreas transplant programs at WashU and Barnes-Jewish.

“It’s very exciting for our program, exciting for our hospital. There aren’t that many programs that have preformed that many life-saving kidney transplants, and it’s really a credit to show that not only have we done it well in 2017, but we’ve done it well in almost three decades already,” he says.

Wellen says they expect to do about 250 to 260 kidney transplants this year, the highest amount in the state of Missouri and one of the top in the entire nation.

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