Intermountain Health performed a record-breaking number of organ transplants in 2022Mar 08, 2023 12:05PM ● By Peri Kinder
Kristine Fogarty (left) donated a portion of her liver to her friend and coworker Carrie Riggs as part of Intermountain Health’s living organ donation program. Intermountain Health performed a record-breaking 300 adult transplants in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Kristine Fogarty)
Kristine Fogarty didn’t even hesitate. When she learned her friend and coworker Carrie Riggs needed a life-saving liver transplant, Fogarty went online to register as a living organ donor. No one in Riggs’ family could donate, but Fogarty’s bloodwork came back as a potential match.
“I told her, if you need someone to match you, I’ll do this because it’s important and it will save your life,” she said.
Fogarty was one of only 13 living liver donation transplants performed at Intermountain Health during 2022, a year when the facility performed a record-breaking 300 adult transplants, thanks to the generosity of organ donors, their families and a team of transplant caregivers.
The Intermountain Transplant Program performed a total of 104 liver, 159 kidney, 29 heart, and eight kidney/pancreas adult transplants last year, the fourth consecutive record-breaking year for the program.
“Living donors are incredible people,” said Diane Alonso, MD, transplant surgeon and former medical director of Intermountain Health’s abdominal transplant program. “They are often undergoing major surgery to give new life to their aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, neighbors—and sometimes to someone they don’t even know. They truly are giving the gift of life and we do our best to be great stewards of that gift.”
The uptick in transplants is due to generous donors, an increase in donor organ availability and advancements in technology and medicine. Liver transplants at Intermountain Health exceed the national average because they are able to match a wider range of donor organs to recipients.
Live transplantation saw the largest increase, with 32 living kidney transplants and 13 living liver transplants.
“Intermountain has created the environment and provided us the necessary tools and medical team to be successful,” said Jean Botha, MD, transplant surgeon and medical director of Intermountain Health’s abdominal transplant program. “I couldn’t be prouder and more honored to be working side-by-side with these caregivers who are changing lives in our communities.”
Within a couple of months, Fogarty passed all the screening tests and was approved to be a living liver donor for Riggs. The transplant was performed in October 2022 and both women are doing well. Riggs said she doesn’t know how to adequately thank Fogarty for saving her life.
“I thought I had to wait for someone to die and that scared me,” Riggs said. “Kristine was my lifeline. She saved my life. We are now closer than ever.”
The success of Intermountain’s transplant program, which serves patients throughout the nation, is the result of caregiver teams across the Intermountain system and community partners working together. The addition of an Intermountain Life Flight long-range medical jet in 2022 enhances organ transplantation by retrieving donor organs from across the United States.
Intermountain also launched a new platform called iReferral with InVita Healthcare Technologies and DonorConnect, the organ procurement agency for the Intermountain West. iReferral streamlines the organ donor referral process and automates the identification of potential donors.
To learn more about organ donation or register to become an organ donor, go to
Fogarty said although her experience was scary, she’d do it again if she could. She challenges others to look into becoming a living donor to give another person the opportunity to live.
“Do it. Save a life. Get this feeling of purpose in life that you helped be part of a miracle. There are so many people out there waiting,” she said. “Living donors are very rare. There were only 13 living donors for livers last year. There’s more people dying than 13. That’s why that number needs to change.”