Via Christi Starts Kidney Transplants

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) A Wichita hospital says it plans to reinstate its kidney transplant program within the next six months.

Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis voluntarily suspended the program last May after four patients who received kidney transplants died within three weeks. The Wichita Eagle reports an investigation found no common cause for the deaths.

Laurie Labarca, chief operating officer of the hospital, says the hospital was given preliminary approval last week for a six-month extension that will allow it to avoid going through the entire accreditation process again.

The hospital is recruiting and interviewing two surgeons and a doctor who specializes in kidney care. A transplant program administrator has been hired and most of the 17 employees who were shifted to other duties will return to the kidney program.