Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beating the odds: organ transplants across the political divide

This is an extraordinary tale,despite the rather dry translation. One Palestinian teenager dies of wounds after a confrontation with security , and his parents approve that his healthy organs be transplanted into half a dozen ailing Israelis. All names are kept under wraps to prevent reprisals by extremists who would harm the teenaged donor's relatives or the Israeli recipients who now owe their lives to what some would term "shaheed organs".

In "Two Peoples, One Heart", published in the Hebrew daily Ma’ariv, reporter Dan Even reports about a rare Palestinian-Israeli organ transplant:

An 18 year-old Palestinian was injured a few weeks ago in an incident with Israeli security guards. He was taken to the intensive care unit at Sheba Medical Center at Tel-Hashomer, where the doctors fought for his life, but after a week he was pronounced brain dead. In spite of the incident his parents agreed to donate his organs, which saved the lives of no less than six Israelis.
The young man’s parents accepted the request from the staff of the hospital and the National Center for Transplants and Donation of Organs. At the transplants center the identity of the donor was kept secret so as not to endanger his parents, who live in one of the towns in the territory of the Palestinian Authority. The recipients of the organs were also informed that the family of the donor wished to remain anonymous. Yesterday, however, just a few hours after he heard the story, one of the recipients met the father of the donor, who had donated his heart. The emotional meeting was held at the hospital and the two embraced, shook hands, and formed a close friendship, which transcends the borders of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and will link the families for ever.
The meeting took place in the same room where a few weeks ago the father received the bad news that his son, “A”, had died. In the previous few months, “A” had been the main provider for his family, because his father had fallen sick. “He was an amazing man,” the father told Ma’ariv. He said he did not hesitate to donate the organs of his son to Israelis, even though his son was killed in an incident with Israelis. “At first it was very difficult for me,” he said, “but I received my inspiration from God. I am at peace with my decision to this day.”

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