Hand Transplant Doctors Prepare For Breidenbach’s Departure

by Gabe Bullard on January 13, 2011

Hand transplants and treatments will continue as usual in Louisville, despite the impending departure of the program’s lead surgeon.

Dr. Warren Breidenbach will leave the Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center at Jewish Hospital later this year for a job at the University of Arizona. He helped pioneer the hand transplant procedure, and he says he hopes to continue his work in Tuscon.

“There’s tremendous opportunity, but there are some areas that they’re lacking now,” he says. “Some of my friends, my accountant, my dog, are telling me I’m crazy. But I’m going for that reason: change and opportunity.”

Breidenbach will teleconference with doctors in Louisville and fly back to the city regularly until a replacement in found.

“There’s a trend now within universities to try and work together,” he says. “I am trying to join that trend.”

Transplant programs often depend on federal grants. Breidenbach says he doesn’t think the growth of a medical center in Arizona will put any of Louisville’s funding at risk, but all federal funds may be harder to secure if a ban on earmarks is imposed.

“The future is getting the financing for it, and that’s what we have to look at,” says Dr. Joseph Kutz. “Fortunately, through congress we have been able to get our grants to carry through. What the congress is going to do now, I don’t know.”

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