Photo: Juntaro Ashikari, chief of the medical department of the Japan Organ Transplant Network, left, explains the brain death of a child at a news conference in Tokyo on June 14. (Hiroki Endo)
Organs of a brain-dead child under 6 years old are expected to be transplanted for the first time in Japan, raising hopes that more young lives can be saved in this country.
The Japan Organ Transplant Network said June 14 that a boy, who suffered from a severe brain disorder, was judged brain dead under the conditions set by the Organ Transplant Law at the Toyama University Hospital.
His heart and liver are expected to be transplanted to girls under 10 years old on June 15, while a woman in her 60s is expected to receive the boy's kidneys.
“Our son will live on as part of somebody else’s body. We are proud of him,” the boy’s parents said in a statement released on the Internet.
Organ transplants from children under 15 years old were legalized after the revised Organ Transplant Law fully took effect in July 2010.
The latest case will be the second transplant from a child under 15 years old in Japan. The first one, from a boy over 10 years old, was conducted in April 2011.
“(The family’s decision) will shed a bright ray of hope for many people, including small children,” Juntaro Ashikari, chief of the medical department of the Japan Organ Transplant Network, told a news conference in Tokyo. “We want to carry through with the procedures, respecting the family’s feelings.”
According to the network, 15 children under the age of 15 years were on a waiting list for heart transplants in Japan as of May 1.