World's first quadruple-limb transplant patient dies

Şevket Çavdar (Photo: Cihan)

February 27, 2012, Monday/ 11:39:00

The world's first quadruple-limb transplant patient died after his recently transplanted limbs had to be amputated early on Monday.

Doctors at Ankara's Hacettepe University Hospital were forced to amputate the two transplanted arms and right leg of 27-year-old Şevket Çavdar due to metabolic failure. His left leg had already been removed on Sunday due to similar complications. Çavdar died on Monday night despite what Hacettepe University Hospital said were “extraordinary efforts by 200 doctors and health personnel for 90 hours” to save him.

Çavdar's brother, Hüseyin Çavdar, told the Anatolian news agency that doctors had informed the family of Çavdar's condition. In an attempt to save his life, doctors performed emergency surgery to amputate the transplanted limbs.

Hüseyin Çavdar stated that they had only learned about the surgery at 3:00 a.m. on Monday, after it was completed, but had not yet informed their mother about the situation. Çavdar's half-brother, Osman Gündoğan, said doctors had reported Çavdar to be in good condition following the transplant and did not say there were any negative indications until 11:00 p.m. on Sunday, when Çavdar was taken back into surgery to remove his left leg.

The same team of surgeons also performed a full-face transplant on Friday and reported the patient to be in good condition. The world's first quadruple-limb transplant and Turkey's second full-face transplant were carried out on Friday by surgeons at Hacettepe University Hospital in Ankara.

The surgeries were made possible when the relatives of a 40-year-old man -- who had recently been declared brain dead at İzmir's Dokuz Eylül University Hospital after having been in a motorcycle accident on Feb. 17 -- decided to donate his organs. The face of the donor, whose name has not been disclosed upon the request of his family, was given to Cengiz Gül, who had suffered serious burns in a television tube explosion when he was 2 years old. The same donor's arms and legs were transplanted to Çavdar.

The organs were brought to Ankara from İzmir early on Friday and doctors promptly began the surgeries. “Fifty-four doctors and 128 other health professionals contributed to the operations, which lasted about 20 hours. Ninety units of blood and 120 units of plasma were transfused to the patient during the double arm and limb transplant,” said Hacettepe University Rector Murat Tuncer at a press conference held on Saturday.

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