Israeli woman's kidney to be flown in for Abu Dhabi patient in private plane

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Abu Dhabi - The three-hour operation at Sheba Medical Centre will be led by a staff of surgeons.


Michal Michelle Divon

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Published: Mon 26 Jul 2021, 10:03 PM

At 5am tomorrow, 39-year-old Shani Markowitz from Israel will undergo surgery to donate one of her kidneys to a patient in Abu Dhabi, while her mother will be admitted to a hospital in Israel for her own kidney transplant.

The three-hour operation at Sheba Medical Centre will be led by a staff of surgeons, anaesthetists, and nurses who will store the donated kidney and send it directly to the airport. The organ will be flown over to Abu Dhabi in a private plane and make its way to one of the Seha chain hospitals where it will meet its match.

Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi, a similar procedure will have taken place ahead of the flight’s arrival. The private plane will then return to Israel with the donated kidney from a UAE donor. It will be sent to Rambam Hospital in Israel’s north and received by an Israeli patient.

The historic life-saving operation is a three-way kidney exchange and the first of its kind between the UAE and Israel. It will mark the start of many medical exchanges of this nature, all part of a wider organ donor programme that was established following the signing of the Abraham Accords.

The joint organ donation programme was months in the making: This week’s procedures follow numerous Zoom sessions between medical teams, as well as blood tests, imaging studies, X-rays, ultrasounds and transfer of all medical reports, to ensure the body won’t reject the donated organ.

Today, the success rate of live organ transplants is close to 100%.

On June 20, a delegation from Sheba Hospital arrived in the UAE for further cooperation in the medical field.

Sheba signed a memorandum of understanding with both the Abu Dhabi Health Authority and the Dubai Health Authority, with medical tourism as one of the agreed priorities.

At the same time, Israel’s National Transplant Centre and Seha hospitals decided to explore cooperation, eventually deciding to combine their organ donor database in order to identify more matches and save lives both in the UAE and in Israel.

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