Largo Medical Center October 14, 2015

Largo, FL - Pinellas County's first kidney transplant was performed on Tuesday, October 6 at Largo Medical Center's Transplant Institute of Florida (TIF). Transplant Surgeon and TIF Medical Director, Hussein Osman-Mohamed, MD, PhD, FACS performed the procedure on Joseph Christofaro, an Ellenton resident who was exposed to Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam.

It is incredible for me to see the fruits of everyone's labor finally become a reality for our patients and for Largo Medical Center," said Dr. Mohamed. "I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this kidney transplant thanks to the expertise of the hospital staff as well as the support of the community at large since the program's inception."

About 32 years ago, 65-year old Joseph Christofaro learned he was suffering from kidney failure. He says it was attributed to his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. It was years after this diagnosis, that Christofaro developed diabetes and later diabetic neuropathy in both legs, making it extremely hard for him to stand and walk. In 2012, after being diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), he was put on dialysis and then on a transplant wait list. ESRD is when the kidneys no longer support the body's needs and are unable to adequately remove waste and excess water. Christofaro says life became unbearable.

"It was years after being on the wait list that I learned about the Transplant Institute of Florida at Largo Medical Center," said Christofaro. "I was impressed with the personalized, patient-centered care given at this hospital from the very first point of contact, and it continued throughout the entire transplant and post-surgery process. This center is absolutely the place you want to be for a transplant."

Largo Medical Center, Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Degina brought the idea of organ transplantation to the table in Pinellas County.

"Patients in our area have greater access to healthcare options when it comes to programs like the Transplant Institute of Florida," said Degina. "This is quite a significant step for our hospital, working toward our vision of being a nationally renowned academic medical center always providing compassionate care and service."

It was during the 4th quarter of 2013, the hospital filed a kidney transplant program letter of intent and application with Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and was granted a Certificate of Need (CON) request.

Approximately 20,000 people annually in the United States receive kidney transplants. Organ donation is an essential part of that process. To learn more about the Transplant Institute of Florida at Largo Medical Center and organ donation, check out