Teenager gives life to others in latest organ transplant ops

Surgeons from Akdeniz University Hospital perform a face transplant on Turan Çolak on Tuesday. (Photo: Cihan)

May 16, 2012, Wednesday/ 17:13:00

The organs of a 19 year old who died in Uşak province have been donated to at least three others, including a face transplant recipient who has been waiting for a new face since the successful facial transplant of another patient by Akdeniz University Hospital hit the news a few months ago.

The 19 year old, Tevfik Yılmaz, who had been hospitalized for a week after an attempted suicide, died in Uşak State Hospital on Monday. His family agreed to donate his organs.

Organ transplant experts from the hospitals of Akdeniz University and Gazi University, and İzmir Kent Hospital rushed to the Uşak State Hospital. Thirty medical surgeons participated in an operation to remove Yılmaz's organs that started at 11:15 p.m. on Monday and ended at about 5:20 a.m. on Tuesday.

Turan Çolak, 34, was then given Yılmaz's face in an operation that lasted nine hours on Tuesday. The head of the reconstructive surgery team of Akdeniz University's Faculty of Medicine, Ömer Özkan announced that the operation was performed successfully.

Çolak's family and friends say reading the news about Uğur Acar, the patient in the first successful face transplant at Akdeniz, greatly impressed Çolak. He applied as a transplant surgery candidate after watching the news about Acar. Çolak's face has been scarred since he suffered severe burns when he was 3 years old. “Children will no longer be afraid of me,” he was quoted by the press as saying a few hours before his surgery.

The young man's liver was given to Murat Akın, a 9 year old who has been suffering from renal problems since he was 2 years old. The boy's father, Bayram Akın, said: “I am both immensely happy and sad. I wish that the young man hadn't died, that his parents didn't have to go through so much pain and I could have donated a piece of my liver. We hope to visit the donor family when my son recovers, to thank them and also offer our condolences for their loss.”

A 25-year-old in Ankara, Ayşegül Uyar, received the young man's heart on Tuesday. Doctors at the Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, who performed surgery on the young woman, said the patient has had serious cardiac problems in past years. They said the operation went well, noting the patient was still in the intensive care unit. Sare Uyar, the patient's mother, said, “This is great happiness, but we are also living the grief of Tevfik's family.”

Meanwhile, the family of Yılmaz spoke to the press on Tuesday, shortly after a conversation with Dr. Zafer Aydın, the transplant coordinator for Uşak province, saying: “I think we as a family made the right decision. The fact that the organs of Ahmet Kaya, who was also from Uşak, were donated influenced our decision. I hope the organs of my son give new life to many people.”

Ahmet Kaya was the donor in the first facial transplant in Turkey. His sister, Fadime Çil, also visited the Yılmaz family at the hospital. She told the press: “I wanted to support Tevfik Yılmaz's family. They are doing a great thing. We have been through the same thing. I am here for emotional support.”

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