Media Advisory

For Immediate Release:

August 8, 2019

Media Contact:

Tania Leets

tania.leets@jhsmiami.org

786-546-2581

305-585-4081

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to Celebrate New Transplant Clinic at Jackson Memorial Medical Center

A private tour is scheduled for guests, including a double-lung transplant recipient, who will witness the new clinic before it opens to the public.

Who:

Teresa Toro, double-lung transplant recipient, Don Steigman, chief operating officer, Jackson Health System, Luke Preczewski, vice president, Miami Transplant Institute, UHealth Jackson Transplant doctors, nurses, and staff; members of the community.

What:

Jackson Health System is celebrating the construction of its new transplant clinic with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The clinic, located on the Jackson Memorial Medical Center campus, will be completed at the end of summer.

The new clinic will serve as an outpatient clinic and diagnostic center for all organ lines for the Miami Transplant Institute (MTI), an affiliation between Jackson Health System and UHealth – University of Miami Health System.

This is one of the major projects under the system’s $1.8 billion capital plan as Jackson continues to expand its services in Miami-Dade County. The new clinic, set to open in September to the public, will include diagnostic imaging, procedure, and infusion capabilities, allowing most evaluation patients to complete their entire workup in the MTI clinic without the disruption and cross-campus travel to the Diagnostic Treatment Center in Jackson Memorial Hospital.

“By providing more comprehensive care in an efficient outpatient setting, Jackson expects this project to improve the patient experience, decrease time from first visit to listing decision, reduce hospital readmission, reduce emergency visits, and decrease length of stay,” said UHealth transplant surgeon Rodrigo Vianna, director, Miami Transplant Institute and chief of liver, intestinal, and multivisceral transplant.

Patients and their families were part of the design process for the new clinic, giving feedback on designs and layouts from the earliest stages of the project.

Our comprehensive transplant program, serving both adults and pediatrics, is ranked the second largest transplant center in the United States performing 681 transplants this past year and has been active since 1970.

The Guest Speaker – Her Story

Teresa Toro was an active teenager, participating in cheerleading, dancing, and, sports in high school. By the age of 18, she noticed that she was having trouble breathing. That is when doctors diagnosed her with asthma.

Not letting asthma limit the things she loved, she still went on to be a Miami Dolphins cheerleader in 1978 and worked as a legal assistant. However, she began noticing that physical activity was becoming more difficult.

Over time, her asthma then turned into emphysema – a chronic lung condition that causes shortness of breath and kills about 135,000 Americans annually. During this time, she was put on oxygen. She was 51 years old.

By the end of 2014, Toro had three exasperations back-to-back, was unable to walk, and was using a wheelchair. She then turned to MTI in hopes of a miracle.

When she visited MTI for evaluation, she was told her lung capacity was at 21 percent and was diagnosed with Alpha 1 Antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency due to her body not producing enough protein to protect the lungs and liver from damage. The condition is genetic and may result in serious lung disease in adults.

Physicians advised her that her chance at survival was minimal, possibly two months, but was placed on the transplant list on January 13, 2016.

Six weeks later, the miracle she hoped for came knocking at her door.

Toro, now 59, successfully underwent a double-lung transplant on February 26.

She will share her transplant journey and recovery at the ribbon-cutting ceremony this Friday, August 9. Toro is currently an ambassador for Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency (LAORA), a mentor for The Lung Transplant Foundation, and often visits transplant patients at Jackson to mentor and give them hope.

Her lung capacity today is now over 60 percent, and she has been able to resume a normal life. This weekend, Toro will go skydiving for the fourth time since her transplant in Clewiston, Florida. She will also be featured in an inspirational video as a testament to the importance of organ donation.

“I’ve been grateful for the care I’ve received at Jackson during my transplant journey,” said Toro. “I am really looking forward to seeing this new clinic that I feel will make it smoother and will improve the patient experience.”

When:

1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, August 9

Where:

Miami Transplant Institute, 1st Floor
1801 NW 9th Avenue
Miami, FL 33136

Editor's Note:

Media can park across the street in the Ryder media lot.
Patient speaks Spanish.

Jackson Health System

1611 N.W. 12th Avenue Miami, FL 33136