After tragedy struck an American family whose son died while on vacation in Greece, the parents decided to do the unexpected.
Instead of simply repatriating his body, they opted to donate some of his vital organs to various Greeks who had been on transplant waiting lists.
Because of their generosity, eight people underwent life-changing medical procedures in which their failing organs were replaced.
The 30-year-old American man had recently died from a severe head injury suffered in a car accident on the island of Tinos.
After his death and his family’s announcement of their decision, the Hellenic Transplant Organization (EOM) received notification and promptly coordinated the reception of organs. They found recipients in need in Athens, Thessaloniki and Munich, Germany.
The operation called for doctors from the Onassis Heart Surgery Center, lung specialists from Munich, kidney experts from the Evangelismos Athens General Hospital, liver specialists from the Ippokrateio General Hospital of Thessaloniki as well as cornea and skin transplantation doctors from the G. Gennimatas General Hospital of Athens.
A 29-year-old man received a new heart; a 54-year-old woman and 45-year-old woman from Thessaloniki who had been on dialysis for 13 and three years respectively received two kidneys; and a 62-year-old man from Thessaloniki received a new liver.
At the G. Gennimatas’ General Hospital of Athens, patients with eye and skin problems received the corneas and skin.
In an official statement, Hellenic Transplant Organization President and Professor Andreas Karambinis commended the American family’s donation.
“Once again it is proven that organ donation has no borders,” Karambinis said. “Human solidarity and love for fellow human beings transcends borders and any other religious and social beliefs.”
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