MOH News

A Press Release Refutes Claims of Stealing a Saudi Citizen's Kidney
08 October 2013
In reference to the news published in newspapers and websites about the claim made by a citizen that one of his kidneys was stolen during hospitalization at Afif General Hospital, the Director General of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, Dr. Faisal AbdulReheem Shahin, stressed that the organ donation and transplantation program in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is characterized by the clear and strict regulations which have been adopted by the Council of Health Services, adding that such regulations are applied to all public and private Saudi hospitals. 

Moreover, Dr. Shahin pointed out that the process of removing any important organ such as the kidney for the purpose of transplanting it to a patient cannot be performed randomly at any health center for the following reasons:

  1. ​It is not possible to remove any organ in the Kingdom without prior coordination with the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation.
  2. The hospitals can conduct the organ transplantation surgery only after receiving an authorization from the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation; given that the number of authorized centers is 16 centers located in various regions in the Kingdom, and spread over various health sectors.
  3. In order to make use of the removed organ for transplantation, it is necessary to have a surgical skill and a technique that helps maintain the organ perfusion, while retaining some specific specifications of the removed vessels along with the organ. Only the experienced physicians can perform such surgeries.
  4. It is necessary to keep the removed organ in a special cooler, along with a specific solution that is only available in the centers licensed to practice the organ transplantation.
  5. The removed organ can be transplanted only within a specific period of time after removal. The kidney, for instance, must be transplanted within 24 hours of removal, and cannot be stored in the refrigerator for various days.
  6. The patient, who is registered in the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation and whose organs are completely failed, can only subject to the organ transplantation surgery (within the Kingdom) after knowing the source of the transplanted organ.
  7. The Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation includes a national register comprising the names of all donors and transplant patients. Upon this register, the immunosuppressive drugs and patients' health status can be followed up.

Within the same vein, Dr. Shahin added that the Saudi applicable regulations in the field of organ removal and transplantation prevent the occurrence of any removal or transplantation surgeries (business or suspicious) due to the above-mentioned reasons. In addition, the removal surgery of any human organ, that is conducted at an unlicensed health facility, without prior coordination with the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation can sentence the facility, as well as physicians and the concerned staff to the maximum harsh criminal penalties. Thankfully, the Kingdom has not received any illegal case since the organ transplantation centers started working.

For his part, the Acting Director of Public Relations and Health Media at Riyadh Health Affairs Directorate, Mr. Abdullah Al-Ghofaili, highlighted that the claims narrated by the citizen are completely false, noting that the patient was admitted to the hospital on 17/10/1434H (corresponding to 24/8/2013) for a car accident. After examination, it's found that he was suffering from intra-abdominal bleeding due to an injury in the liver due to the accident; as a result, the treating physician decided to conduct abdominal exploration for him by ultrasound waves. 

After exploration, the physician discovered the absence of the spleen and any clear mark for the left kidney. After reviewing the medical history of the patient, it was found that the patient was previously hospitalized for another incident on 23/7/1432H (corresponding to 25/6/2011) as a result of his exposure to an electric shock and fall, causing severe laceration for the intra-abdominal organs, bleeding and a large quantity of fluids. For that reason, the surgical intervention and splenectomy were necessary to save the patient's life.

In conclusion, Mr. Al-Ghofaili noted that once the mass media published the claim of the patient, a special committee was formed to investigate the reported claim and to conduct new ultrasound scanning. The CT scan proved that the patient has two kidneys; but one of them suffers from severe atrophy that is difficult to be diagnosed by the ultrasound waves as it might cause fluids inside the abdominal.

Last Update : 11 October 2013 07:04 AM
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