Palestinian, Israeli-Arab teens saved by organ donation from each other's family

All the operations were successful and the patients are recovering.

Kidney transplant operation at Rambam Hospital in Haifa (photo credit: PIOTR FLITR)
Kidney transplant operation at Rambam Hospital in Haifa
(photo credit: PIOTR FLITR)
The mother of a 19-year-old Israeli Arab from a village near Nahariya donated one of her kidneys to a 16-year-old boy from Jenin, while the brother of the Palestinian gave a kidney to the 19 year old for a “cross transplant” done at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.
While the donors were not immunologically compatible to their own relatives who needed the organs, their tissues were each suitable for members of the other family.
The Rambam surgeons said the operations were challenging and complicated – especially from the logistic point of view – because the procedures had to be performed simultaneously.
In the first stage, the donors were brought into operating rooms for removal of one kidney each. The organs were then prepared for transplant. That took three hours. Then, the recipients were wheeled in to receive their transplants.
Dozens of doctors, nurses and other personnel from vascular surgery, nephrology and other units were involved in the procedures, all of which were successful.
The patients are now recuperating.
Dr. Ran Steinberg, head of pediatric surgery at Rambam’s Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital, said the experience gained at Rambam over the years made it possible for such a complex project to succeed.
“Thanks to partnership among all factors, we succeeded in saving lives, and there is no greater satisfaction,” he said.
Rambam was the first Israeli hospital to carry out a live-donor kidney transplant in the 1960s. It is the only organ transplant center in the North.