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New mega-house to provide crucial services to transplant patients, families

While Caitlin Bradley lay in a coma for two weeks awaiting a liver transplant, her father slept in her hospital room, as the commute from their Palm Coast home was too great for the family to make several times a day.

Adding to the Bradleys’ stressful period was the financial burden of taking time off work, and paying for hotels, gas, food and other expenses incurred from being out-of-town.

It is with these families in mind that Florida Hospital is constructing the 21,000-square-foot “Bartch Transplant House,” which will serve as a home-away-from-home for transplant patients and their families.

“This is an amazing, much needed service,” said Bradley. “The Bartch Transplant House will do more for transplant patients and their families than anyone could imagine.”

The three-story, craftsman-style Bartch Transplant House is modeled after the original Florida Hospital, opened in 1908. It will feature 24 private rooms, a sprawling porch, kitchen, laundry facility and common spaces.

The Bartch Transplant House, named after a family that made a significant contribution to the project, will be constructed off the shore of Lake Winyah, at Florida Hospital Orlando. Crews begin demolition on an existing structure on the property this week, which will pave the way for construction on the new home.

For more than 40 years, Florida Hospital has been committed to saving lives through the Transplant Institute, which offers kidney, liver, kidney/pancreas, lung and heart transplants.

Each year, more than 135 patients and their families must travel more than 50 miles for each doctor’s appointment. The average patient has 40 appointments and stays in the hospital for two to three weeks. For some transplant patients, the hospital stay is months.

“Transplant patients are in a unique situation that requires a lot of travel, lengthy hospital stays, and extensive support from family and friends,” said Kari Vargas, a Florida Hospital vice president. “The Bartch Transplant House will provide affordable accommodations for our transplant patients’ families, which will help relieve their stress and alleviate the financial burden.”

The Bartch Transplant House, slated to open in the summer of 2016, will let families avoid hotel costs, allow them to cook meals at home, and stay in a peaceful setting near the hospital.

“Family and friends play a key role in a patient’s healing, and their emotional and physical support is invaluable,” said Dr. Bobby Nibhanupudy, medical director of Florida Hospital’s abdominal transplant program. “Having this new home-away-from-home is a priceless resource for not just our transplant patients, but to all of Central Florida.”