Turkey approves new directive on face and arm transplants

Turkish Health Minister approved a new directive on composite tissue transplants, a move which paves the way for face and arm transplants without special permission from the ministry, an official of the National Organ and Tissue Coordination Council said on Monday.

Under the directive approved by Health Minister Recep Akdag, high hospital charges of transplant surgery recipients will be paid by the Social Security Institution.

Professor Gultekin Suleymanlar, a member of Turkey’s National Organ and Tissue Coordination Council at Akdeniz University, told the AA that ministry’s directive included also all limb, tissue and visceral organ transplants.

“The new directive fills a significant gap in legislation,” Professor Suleymanlar said. “We no longer need special permission to perform such surgeries.”

The gap in legislation came up after Turkey’s first double arm transplant surgery performed last year by a group of doctors at Akdeniz University, who specialized on transplant surgeries.

In September 2010, Cihan Topal, a 28-year-old man, was given the hands of a 23-old-man who died in a car crash. Turkey has become the fifth European country where double arm transplant is possible after the surgery at Akdeniz University.

“We have now cleared the way for treatment of many handicapped people. This is a milestone,” Professor Suleymanlar said.