Florida Hospital building home for families of transplant patients – Orlando Sentinel

Florida Hospital is building a new space to house families of patients who are receiving a transplant at the hospital.

The three-story, 21,000-square-foot house is built in craftsman-style, modeled after the original Florida Hospital, and will have 24 rooms.

“Part of the vision around the transplant home is for it to be home away from home,” said Kari Vargas, a vice president at Florida Hospital, who oversees the transplant program. “We wanted it to be a respite place for family members to seek peace.”

The hospital’s transplant program is the only one in the four-county area, and families like Caitlin Bradley’s, who live in Volusia County, have to travel for miles during and after the procedures.

Bradley received a liver transplant in 2013 when she was 21, after a long battle with an autoimmune disease. She was in the hospital for nearly two months.

“Some days my dad slept on the floor because he didn’t want to leave me,” said Bradley, who’s now 24 and thinking about becoming a teacher or nurse.

“When I think about how a place like this could have helped, it would have been tremendous,” she said.

Hospital officials said that more than 135 transplant patients and families travel more than 50 miles for each doctor’s appointment. Patients have on average stay at the hospital of two to three weeks.

Called The Bartch Transplant house, it will have a bed-and-breakfast setting with a common kitchen and living area. It will be open to families based on availability of rooms. The house is named after a family that made a significant contribution to the project, the hospital said.

Officials are considering a small fee for stays, about $40 a night, but that could vary based on the families’ financial abilities.

The demolition of an existing structure on Lake Winyah at the Florida Hospital Orlando campus begins on Thursday and the house is expected to open next summer.

Brasfield & Gorrie and Goehring & Morgan are the contractors. Architect is Little.

nmiller@tribune.com or 407-420-5158.

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