|Dr Fadhil (centre) is seen with HMC staff and the five organ recipients (left row) during a press conference yesterday|
The Hamad Medical Corporation’s organ donation drive has achieved a rare feat as the institution has successfully carried out kidney transplants on five patients within three months.
“This achievement is unprecedented because we have been able to achieve what we usually record over two to three years. In 2008, we had three renal transplants and only two last year,” senior consultant surgeon Dr Riadh Fadhil said at a press conference yesterday.
The five patients received kidneys from their living relatives.
Fadhil said three more patients are being prepared for transplants with hopes of organ donations from their relatives.
He said Qatar has a high number of chronic renal failures with up to 500 patients presently undergoing dialysis and 80 others on the waiting list for renal transplantation.
However, the doctor said every year an additional 225 renal failure patients were being added to the list.
“The optimum solution to renal failure is transplantation and Hamad Hospital has very good facilities for both dialysis and transplant surgery,” he said.
The corporation began the transplant surgery in 1986 and so far has carried out 157 kidney transplants.
“We want to believe that the trend witnessed in the early beginnings of organ transplant in the country when we were transplanting seven to eight organs in a year, is finally coming back judging by our achievements so far this year,” Dr Fadhil said.
He said that the hospital’s organ donation drive was achieving greater success due to active support from the HMC administrators and the many measures taken to educate the staff, especially those in the intensive care units, the community as well as patients on the importance of donating organs.
He added that the attitude of the hospital staff, the administrators and the community at large has also changed towards organ donation.
“We have stepped up our awareness efforts on organ donation through campaigns, lectures and participation in media programmes discussing the importance of donating organs and the advantage of having the surgery done here instead of going abroad,” he said.
“We have also seen an increase in the number of cadaver donors as we received three consents over the last three months – it was two last year and three the previous year,” Dr Fadhil said.
The surgeon criticised patients who prefer to go abroad to receive organs saying it will only result in ‘problematic outcomes’.
“Some patients prefer to travel aboard to buy organs which are not properly checked and allow surgery to be done on them in a very unhygienic environment and they end up coming back to us with serious complications leading to death in some cases,” he said.
“It is true that transplant surgery is not easy and can be full of complications if not done properly but we are happy that all surgeries done here so far have been very successful and our results are comparable to international standards,” he said.
Dr Fadhil said the hospital was preparing to carry out liver transplants, adding that there were 60 patients already on the waiting list.
A Doha Organ Donation Accord has been institutionalised to give equal rights to all nationalities to receive organs while alive and also to equally donate organs whether dead or alive, he said