Turkey’s fifth face transplantation takes place thanks to coincidence
ANTALYA / BURSA
The face of a Polish man was successfully given to a Recep Sert in a transplant at Akdeniz University hospital following a 6.5-hour operation July 18, making it the fifth such operation to take place in the country. DHA photoThe Turkish man who underwent a face transplant on July 18 had risked missing his operation as he had no money to buy a ticket to Antalya, where doctors were preparing for the surgery.
Recep Sert, 27, who lost one eye and had a deformed face and jaw bone after mistakenly shooting his face while cleaning his gun, was able to arrive at Akdeniz Hospital in the southern province of Antalya thanks to a coincidence, according to his girlfriend, Doğan news agency reported.
Sert and his girlfriend, Elif Tercüman, were in the western province of Bursa when they got a call from the hospital saying they had found a donor and asked them to come to the hospital as soon as possible.
Tercüman said they had only 120 Turkish Liras and the plane ticket was 170 liras for one person. She attempted to sell her mobile phone to people at the airport, she said. At that moment, Dr. Murat Akalan, who was going to Antalya from İzmir to attend the same operation recognized Sert and told them that he was part of the transplantation team. Akalan gave Sert 50 liras to buy the ticket and they traveled to the city together.
Cafer Sert, father of Sert, told reporters he had been a wealthy man, but spent around 580,000 liras for his son. Sert has had 44 surgeries in the past nine years.
Cafer Sert said he was grateful to the family of donor, Polish citizen Andrzej Kucza, 47, who died of a heart attack in Muğla province of Turkey.
Cafer Sert had asked the İnegöl District Governor’s Office in Bursa for aid to go to Antalya in order to see his son, Cihan news agency reported. However, he decided not to go at the last minute, saying he could not stand to see his son right after the operation. His two sons, Metin and Bülent Sert, as well as his daughter, Özge, went to the city instead.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ömer Özkan from Akdeniz University’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery said the face transplantation operation had been successful and they had encountered no problems during the operation, speaking after the surgery, Anadolu Agency reported.
Özkan headed the team that transplanted the face and jaw bones of Kucza to Sert in a 6.5-hour operation.
Özkan said they had transplanted the maxillary bone and jaw bone at the same time, a first in Turkey, adding that this was also rare internationally.
Sert had been eating only liquid foods due to the loss of his jaw bones in the accident.