Emily Sandhaus

Emily Sandhaus, RN, and Chris Schwartz, RN, are pre-transplant coordinators for the Vanderbilt Transplant Center.

Pre-transplant coordinators ‘literally on call for something every single day’

Emily Sandhaus’ phone rings in the middle of the night. The voice on the other end tells her a donor heart is available, and it’s in El Paso, Texas. She should pack a bag and report to the Emergency Department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A car will take her team to Nashville International Airport, where they will board a charter plane to recover, preserve and transport the heart back to VUMC for transplant.

Tricia Burgess thought she had seasonal allergies. She actually needed a heart transplant.

“I didn’t even know I was sick. I’m thankful that Vanderbilt saved my life.”