New UAE donor list will mean fewer foreign operations, say doctors

Members of the public will be urged to volunteer

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The UAE is gearing up to begin transplants from cadavers as soon as next week after a change in the law last year.

“This will significantly reduce the number of patients needing to travel abroad for transplants,” said Dr Muhammad Badar Zaman, Head of Transplantation Services at Seha’s Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

Dr Zaman said there are currently a number of “children and young adults registered at SKMC who require heart transplants".

Hospital staff are currently being trained to ask the families of patients who die in intensive care if their relative would donate his or her organs after death.

“Deceased donations will help improve the lives of many patients,” Dr Zaman said.

Not only will it cut the need for travelling abroad for transplants but also reduce costs on the government.

More than 100 doctors and nurses are being trained as part of the process and hospitals involved are equipped to perform transplants as part of a wider effort to encourage more members of the public to become donors.

The initiative takes advantage of the new law that allows hospitals to remove organs from deceased individuals. Before the change such a move would have been illegal. It is thought only a handful of such operations have been carried out since the change in the law.

Dr Tomislav Mihaljevic, CEO Cleveland Abu Dhabi said yesterday: “Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is developing transplant facilities to support a full range of transplant operations and to provide patients with a high level of care closer to home. We are working to contribute to the national transplant programme, in-line with recent changes to the legal framework, and – while the donor program will not be in place over night – in time we will be able to promote a wider spectrum of transplant options within the UAE.”

Hospitals will begin with kidney transplants and at a later stage, heart transplants.