ERIE, Pa. — UPMC Hamot is officially the first and only accredited kidney transplant program in the region.

Four patients have already taken advantage of the services in the past year.

All cases so far involved living donors, but the program will soon also include deceased donors.

The staff at UPMC Hamot said this program helps transplant survivors thrive, allowing them to stay right here in Erie to get the benefits the innovations.

“To be able to offer this service to patients so that they don’t need to travel to Cleveland or Buffalo or Pittsburgh and be able to do a one-stop shop here for them and provide this level of service is historic,” transplant administrator Aimee Hagerty said.

Doctors say more than 100,000 Americans are waiting for a kidney transplant and 13 people die each day while waiting on the list.