Historic: 3 Patients Receive Kidneys In Israel-UAE Exchange

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Prof. Eitan Mor of Sheba Medical Center with the kidney removed in Sheba Medical Center and flown to the United Arab Emirates. (Photo: Sheba Medical Center)

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History was made on Wednesday when thanks to the transfer of a kidney from Israel to Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi to Israel, three kidney transplants were carried out on Wednesday, two in Israel and one in Abu Dhabi.

At 5:30 am., the first surgery was performed at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, with doctors removing a kidney from Shani Markowitz, 39. The kidney was placed in a special cooler and rushed to Ben-Gurion Airport to be placed on a three-hour flight to Abu Dhabi.

At 7:30 a.m., the next surgery took place in Abu Dhabi, with doctors removing a kidney from an Emirati woman. The kidney was rushed to the airport and flown to Israel to be transplanted in an Israeli woman at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

At 8:00 a.m., the next surgery took place in Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva, with doctors removing the kidney of the husband of the Rambam patient. His kidney was transplanted in the mother of Shani Markowitz, and Markowitz’s kidney was transplanted in the mother of the Emirati donor.

At 6:30 p.m., an ambulance that had sped from Ben-Gurion Airport arrived at Ramban with the precious kidney from Abu Dhabi. At 7:00 p.m., the transplant surgery began. Two and a half hours later, history was made when the chief surgeon announced that the transplant was successful.

The complex arrangement between the three families in two countries was necessary because none of the patients had relatives whose kidneys were a match for them.

“Yesterday was a historic day for the state of Israel, the Health Ministry, the National Transplant Center and kidney patients and their families,” a statement from Israel’s National Transplant Center said. “Thanks to the transfer of a kidney from Israel to Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi to Israel, three transplants were performed, two of them in Israel.”

Israel carried out a similar arrangement with Cyprus in the past but this is the first time such an arrangement was carried out with an Arab state, a beautiful and life-saving outcome of peace and the Abraham Accords.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)