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Our Care Team
A team of liver transplantation experts works closely with patients every step of the way. This team — made up of transplant surgeons, hepatologists, financial coordinators, social workers and other healthcare staff — helps patients understand the donation process so they can make informed health decisions.
Transplant surgeons specialize in transplantation and perform your transplant surgery. Our surgeons are trained to manage all stages of transplantation, including management of your immunosuppressive regimen. Click on each surgeon's name to learn more about their backgrounds and expertise.
Living Donor Specialist
- Darby Santamour-Saab
In addition to Darby’s role of initially screening and educating our patients on living liver donation, she also facilitates the donor through their evaluation and testing. She is available to our donors throughout the process should they need anything. Once a donor has been approved for surgery she manages their pre-operative appointments, surgery dates and their follow up care.
Nurse Transplant Coordinator
- Francesca Pirandello
Francesca is a nurse with training in liver transplantation and donation. She ensures all concerns of the potential donor and the donor advocate team are addressed, and that the overall process is carried out properly. She will also review the Informed Consent and answer any questions before it is signed.
- Jennifer Fojas
- Keila Reyes
Our financial coordinators explain how the donor’s evaluation, surgery, hospitalization and follow up are billed and paid. They will explain what a donor can expect their out-of-pocket expenses to be, when their insurance may be used and what financial assistance options are available. They will also explain how donation may impact a donor’s ability to obtain health and/or life insurance.
Dr. Fox meets with each donor to educate them on the risks of liver donation and explain the benefit of living donation for the recipient. She will perform a physical exam and review the donor’s medical and family history. Dr. Fox helps to ensure the donor’s liver is safe for donation.
Donors are required to bring a care partner with them to this appointment. (The care partner is the person they have designated to support them through this process but ultimately, this is the individual who will help care for the donor when they are discharged from the hospital). Dr. Salajegheh’s role is to help the donor understand the risks and benefits of liver donation. Donation can be emotionally stressful and a donor may become depressed, anxious or overwhelmed during the surgical procedures and recovery. Dr. Salajegheh will access their ability to handle the process and work with the potential donor to help them decide if donation is the best decision for them. She will also prepare the care partner for the tasks involved in their role.
Donors are required to bring a care partner with them to this appointment. Deborah is a social worker and a living donor advocate. She will work to understand the donor’s motivation for wanting to donate. Her role is to protect the donor from being pressured into donation and make sure they understand the risks. Deborah will ensure the donors are fully informed, that they have a committed and responsible care partner, that they have the financial resources to handle out-of-pocket expenses and that they have reliable modes of transportation to make their visits. Deborah is available to our donors throughout this process to provide emotional support and arrange community resources.
Dr. Taylor is the independent Physician and a Living Donor Advocate. She is a general medical doctor on the full-time faculty of Weill Cornell Medicine with a general medical practice. Dr. Taylor is an equal member of the Donor Team but not tied in any way to the Department of Transplantation. She evaluates donors from the perspective of their general medical condition and the potential effect on their future health.
Living Donor Physician Assistant
Meaghan is the living liver donor’s PA. Her role is to care for our donors post-operatively. They will likely have their follow up appointments with Meaghan, however, she typically meets with donors during their evaluation to establish a relationship before they undergo surgery.