First face transplant patient opens his eyes

First face transplant patient opens his eyes

ANTALYA - Doğan News Agency
First face transplant patient opens his eyes

Patient Uğur Acar has signaled that everything is fine after he was woken up. DHA Photo

Uğur Acar, the first person in Turkish history to successfully receive a full face transplant, was taken out of intensive care yesterday and transferred to a normal hospital ward.

“He has opened his eyes. We can now communicate with him in every way. It is not possible for him to talk at the moment. We are going to grant him that opportunity within a couple of days. He can even express his hunger. That is very good for us,” said Professor Ömer Özkan, who led a team of 25 doctors conducting the transplant at Akdeniz University in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.

Acar’s first visitors at the hospital ward were Professor Israfil Kurtcephe, Akdeniz University’s rector, and Antalya Gov. Ahmet Altıparmak, who thanked the family of Ahmet Kaya for choosing to donate his organs.

“They committed a great act of heroism and self-sacrifice by donating their father’s [organs]. Hopefully they will take pride and joy when they see their father living on in other bodies,” Altıparmak said.

Acar received the face of Kaya while another patient, Atilla Kavdır, was given the man’s arms and right leg.

Acar is being fed through his veins, Özkan said, adding that they were going to discuss Acar’s first look in a mirror with psychiatrists.

Özkan also said they were going to keep monitoring Kavdır, who is still in intensive care.

“He underwent a more difficult period. We are waiting for him to recover. We are going to take him to the regular ward in a few days,” Özkan said. Meanwhile, 63-year-old Antalya resident Sakine Thiel registered to donate all her organs after she heard the news about Acar. “I decided to donate my [organs] for transplant because [I] trust Turkish doctors. I donated all my organs, including my entire face,” she said.

Acar lost his face when he suffered severe burns in a house fire as a baby, while Kavdır lost his arms and right leg when he was 11 years old after being electrocuted by a power line outside his home.
Kaya fell into a coma after attempting to kill himself Jan. 8. After he died Jan. 20, his family agreed to donate his organs and limbs to patients awaiting transplants.

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