Bahrain, Saudi hospitals in transplant tie-up
Manama, May 19, 2013
Bahrain’s Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) is tying up with the King Fahad Hospital in Saudi Arabia to create a cross-border transplant programme for patients needing a new kidney, liver or pancreas.
Organs donated in Bahrain will also be used to help patients in Saudi Arabia if there is no potential recipient waiting here, according to the report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It is part of a new drive to revive Bahrain's transplant programme, which has stalled for the past two years - reportedly as a result of political unrest that disrupted operations at Bahrain's main public hospital.
Health Ministry Hospitals Under-Secretary Dr Amin Al Sa'ati said discussions have taken place with Saudi officials on cadaver donations in both countries. "We can take advantage of the expertise in Saudi Arabia in surgical techniques, as well as encourage the harvesting of organs from brain dead individuals in both countries," said Dr Al Sa'ati.
"A special committee, consisting of members from both countries, will be formed to look into how best the initiative of organ harvesting and transplant can be implemented in both countries."
He said efforts would focus on ensuring fast action once organs are harvested from brain-dead patients, ensuring speedy transfer to benefit those in urgent need.
"The special committee will meet every week to update members on steps taken to implement decisions and identify patients in need of transplants," added Dr Al Sa'ati.
"This will help patients on both sides of the border, scores of whom are waiting for such transplants."
The committee will also review laws governing organ transplant in both countries and suggest modifications and amendments, if required.
"The committee will also look at challenges and difficulties faced by the GCC community in particular and the Muslim community in general to accept the idea of organ transplant," he said.
Organ donation is widely practised in the West, where many people consent to their organs being used in the event of death to help a living patient.
However, there is a misconception in this part of the world that harvesting organs is somehow un-Islamic.
This has hindered attempts to roll out the organ transplant programme, but authorities are seeking to dispel this myth.
Some patients have resorted to travelling abroad for transplant operations in which they buy an organ from a donor, but the GDN reported last summer that a 50-year-old Bahraini died and six others experienced complications after undergoing procedures overseas.
Workshops about transplants and their benefits are now being planned in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia for doctors working in all disciplines.
"While liver and kidney transplants have been routinely done in this part of the world, the King Fahad Hospital is now starting harvesting and transplant of pancreas," said Dr Al Sa'ati.
"This is a revolutionary step and will help thousands of patients." – TradeArabia News Service
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