Top Covid-19 lung transplant surgeon to lead new Abu Dhabi organ centre

Burjeel's transplant centre will be the capital's second facility of its kind

Dr Sandeep Attawar, one of India's leading organ transplant surgeons, will lead the new unit at Burjeel Medical City. Courtesy: MediGlobus
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A second organ transplant unit will open in Abu Dhabi to serve patients seeking life-saving treatment.

Burjeel Medical City will carry out heart and lung operations in a partnership with India's Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (Kims) Hospitals.

The new unit will be led by Dr Sandeep Attawar, who recently performed 12 double lung transplants on patients with end-stage Covid-19 damaged lungs.

"In the initial phase, we will be concentrating on setting up the infrastructure for heart and lung transplants," said John Sunil, chief executive of VPS-owned Burjeel Hospitals.

Organ donations are looking up in the UAE and this is the right time for us to work together

"Soon, we will strengthen our organ transplant centre and open directly to patients in need.

"We aim to provide the most advanced care to patients in the UAE and other GCC countries."

Burjeel Hospitals did not say when the unit would open.

Dr Attawar, who is currently based in Hyderabad in India, has performed 280 transplants.

He said there was high demand for transplant services in the UAE and the Gulf.

"I have been contacted quite frequently by patients and their families in the UAE," Dr Attawar said.

"I currently have patients from Bahrain, Iraq and Dubai who are waiting in my centre in India for a lung transplant.

"Organ donations are looking up in the UAE and this is the right time for us to work together [in Abu Dhabi].

"Amplified, this will go great deal in not just helping donations but raising awareness and the opportunity to getting a transplant."

Kims, which runs nine hospitals including one of the largest in India, claims its unit has performed more Covid-19 related organ transplants than any other in Asia.

Burjeel's transplant unit is the second such facility in the capital.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has carried out pioneering surgery since 2017, when a legal change allowed organs to be taken from deceased donors.

Prior to that, operations were restricted to organs taken from living donors – usually a kidney from a close relative.

Three years ago, there were an estimated 6,000 people in the UAE facing primary organ failure, of whom about 4,000 may need a kidney transplant.

The organ transplant donor list system has already saved dozens of lives.

The government has urged residents to sign up as donors, which can be done through the Hayat portal.

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