Crucial transplant surgery gives many patients hope

Crucial transplant surgery gives many patients hope

ANTALYA - Doğan News Agency
Crucial transplant surgery gives many patients hope

Looking his new face through the mirror, Uğur Acar becomes symbol of hope for many suffering patients. DHA photo

The first images of Turkey’s first face transplant patient have become sources of hope for many patients across the country, leading to Akdeniz University Hospital, which conducted the landmark face operation, being inundated with several requests.

Uğur Acar, 19, saw his new face in the mirror for the first time Feb. 14, more than three weeks after the historic surgery. The Professor Dr. Tuncel Karpuzoğlu Organ Transplant Institute at the university on Turkey’s Mediterranean has received 24 applications for face transplants similar to Acar’s operation, according to Doğan news agency. 

In one request, a 17-year-old girl whose face was burned when she was only 3 days old, said she wanted to have a similar operation “as soon as a donor could be found.” The girl’s mother called for help from the families of potential donors. Mustafa Balta, 28, whose face was burned when he was only 3 years old, said he had come to Antalya to seek treatment. “I had my first surgery in Trabzon. I believe [this university] would provide a safer operation,” Balta said. 

Erkan Kucur, 19, came to Antalya from the eastern province of Malatya and was waiting in the hospital’s garden as he spoke with Doğan news agency reporters. “When I saw Uğur’s images, my hopes were renewed. I had six, seven operations in the past.”

Meanwhile, officials at the institute said organ donations had increased markedly in the past month since Acar’s transplant.

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