LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services is one of the pioneer organ procurement programs in the country. When the University of Florida began its transplant program at Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville back in 1966, our program was born out of necessity. Although not officially called an organ procurement organization (OPO) back then, it was through the efforts of our program that organs were recovered and made available for patients awaiting kidney transplants.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, transplant centers began to open in major medical centers around the country. Along with Gainesville, cities such as Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Omaha and Miami were gaining prominence in the field for their success in transplantation. Procurement programs serving these cities and others began to grow to meet the demands of the field. Today there are 58 OPOs that serve 249 transplant centers in the United States and Puerto Rico.
As the transplant center in Gainesville grew, so did our program. We continued to expand by first adding a regional office in the Jacksonville area. A few years later, we added offices in Tallahassee and Pensacola. We currently cover a 36-county region from Duval in the east to Escambia in the west and as far south as Marion.
In those early years, our program was known by several names, from the University of Florida OPO to Shands OPO at UF. In the summer of 2000 we changed our name to LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services to more closely identify to the community what we do.