Turkish Health Ministry cancels a licence for transplant operations

Turkish Health Ministry cancels a licence for transplant operations

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Health Ministry cancels a licence for transplant operations

Doctors at Ankara’s Hacettepe University hold a press meeting after realizing a face and quadruple-limb transplant on Feb 24, 2012. Limb transplant patient Şevket Çandar lost his life after the operation. AA photo

Health Ministry commission has decided to revoke Hacettepe University’s license to perform composite tissue transplant operations on the grounds that the face and quadruple limb transplant surgeries conducted by the university’s medical staff on Feb. 24 were not in line with regulations. 

The Composite Tissue Transplant Scientific Advisory Commission also issued a warning to Akdeniz University, where doctors successfully conducted Turkey’s first full face transplant operation on Jan. 21, but otherwise approved of the face transplant operations performed at both Akdeniz and Gazi Universities, according to Doğan News Agency. 

“The regulations we have designed regarding face and limb transplants in Turkey are the first such regulations in the world. We have determined how and under what conditions these operations should be performed,” İrfan Şencan, the Ministry of Health’s treatment services director told the NTV-MSNBC news channel on March 23. “Our advisory commission has determined that the operations at Akdeniz and Gazi University were performed in accordance with the regulations, however we found that the face and quadruple-limb transplant operations performed at Hacettepe University were done before the necessary preparatory procedures were completed.”

Şevket Çavdar, the world’s first quadruple-limb transplant patient, died in late February, after his body refused to accept the transplanted limb after surgery at Ankara’s Hacettepe University. The face of the same donor who provided the limbs for Çavdar’s operation was transplanted onto a 25-year-old patient, Cengiz Gür, 70 percent of whose face had been disfigured at the age of five when a television exploded. Gür is reported to be in good condition, but the commission still ruled that the hospital failed to uphold proper standards during his operation. 

Turkey’s first face-transplant operation was performed in at Akdeniz University in the southern province of Antalya on Jan. 21. The patient, Uğur Acar, was given the face of 39-year-old Ahmet Kaya. Another similar operation was performed on March 17, in which a 20-year-old patient received a partial face transplant from a 28-year-old donor.

The commission also set forth new regulations regarding surgical operations involving face transplants, whereby minors under the age of 18 will be barred from undergoing such operations. The commission further stipulated that the age difference between a facial donor and the recipient cannot exceed five years, reported the website of the broadcasting station CNNTürk.

Investigations launched by the Higher Education Board (YÖK) and the Health Ministry are also underway, according to reports.