Medicine The Amazing: Turkish Doctors Perform Two Miraculous Procedures In One Day


Sometimes I like to take a step back and just look at something going on in the law or medicine and recognize the achievement, the advancement, and the downright remarkable events occurring in both. This weekend, Turkish doctors performed some truly incredible procedures all in the same day in the same hospital!

An immediate question would be why are they doing both of these operations with the same staff who undoubtedly is exhausted from the first operation and now has to do a second. Essentially, aren’t they spreading themselves too thin? While that may be true, the reason is quite simple. A forty-five year old man had passed away and he had elected to be a complete donor. Moreover, his tissue and blood were the “universal” type which increased the chances that he would be a successful donor to many other people.

The first procedure was a face transplant on a nineteen-year-old boy. The boy was severely burned when he was about six weeks old. Obviously when he was born, there had never been a face transplant before so that was out of the question. Moreover, his doctors likely wanted him to be older anyway for this surgery to lower his risks of complications and so his body had a chance to grow. When the world’s first transplant was completed in 2005, and subsequently more in the years following, this gave him hope and he opted for this radical surgery. The first face transplant in the United States was in 2008. The surgery performed by the Turkish doctors is a great success so far, and marks the country’s first face transplant and the world’s twentieth one overall.

The second procedure was a triple limb transplant on a thirty-four-year-old man. This is the first time in the entire world that a triple limb transplant has been performed! The team of doctors attached two arms and one leg to the patient from the same forty-five-year-old man. The man has lost his arms and leg when he was just eleven years old. He had been trying to scare away birds with an iron rod, but he hit a power line and was severely electrocuted. Previously, doctors had performed a double arm transplant in Germany in 2008, and a double leg transplant in Spain last year. So this is quite a fair feat to be doing a double operation, let alone a triple!

Of course for both surgeries there is a high risk of infection. Doctors at the hospital did mention to reporters that everything looks great for both individuals, however there is a critical ten-to-fifteen day period right not to ensure both patients remain healthy. Infection is a very dangerous risk normally, particularly with a face transplant and a triple limb transplant; the occurrence is multiplied!

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