Israeli donor saves Turkish patient’s life

Israeli donor saves Turkish patient’s life

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Israeli donor saves Turkish patient’s life

Everybody should learn a lesson from this donation made without any discrimination, patient Mehmet Burhan Gül says. AA photo

A Turkish leukemia patient, out of treatment options after 22 years, was matched with a bone marrow donor from Israel, resulting in a life-saving surgery against the backdrop of political tensions between their countries.

“Everybody should learn a lesson from this donation, which was made without any discrimination of religion, language or race,” the patient, Mehmet Burhan Gül, told Anatolia news agency.

“I am indebted to the woman who gave me her marrow, and I want to meet her someday. She gave me a second chance at life,” he said.

Gül was diagnosed with leukemia 22 years ago. Unable to find a donor match from his family, the 55-year-old man relied on medication until one day last year his doctors informed him that the medicines had stopped working and that a transplant was crucial for his survival. An international database of 15 million donors resulted in one match -- a woman in Israel. 

Osman İlhan, the doctor who treated Gül at Ankara University’s Medical Faculty, said the transplant carried serious risks because the donor only matched nine out of 10 and was a female. Having no other choice, doctors went ahead with the surgery and gave Gül a 60 percent chance of survival. The transplant proved a success, and Gül recovered.

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