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Revista Española de Cirugía Oral y Maxilofacial

On-line version ISSN 2173-9161Print version ISSN 1130-0558

Rev Esp Cirug Oral y Maxilofac vol.31 n.6 Madrid Nov./Dec. 2009




Facial transplant information

Información en el trasplante facial



Mr. Director,

As a result of the facial transplant that took place the 19th of August in Valencia family members and the professionals who performed the surgery have been expressing that they are upset that the identity of the donor was revealed to the public. The family of the donor is going to sue the Center or Institution responsible for moral damages. This surgery was an incredible advance in medicine for the facilitators as well as the National Transplant Organization (NTO). Keep in mind that this could hurt the good reputation of this organization and the professionals involved. Carefully preserving the identity of the donors and recipients was impossible because of leaks to the media who were eager for such exceptional news like a transplant of this magnitude.

We consider that perhaps the NTO should regulate a type of "private information" for external organ transplants. For example extremities, breasts, genitals and especially parts of the head and neck and even more specifically facial transplants. It is logical that the Society see itself directly involved in these manifest and visible events, unlike internal organ transplants, despite the vital connotations for the recipient.

We view what happened as something that shouldn't be viewed negatively. Keeping the identity of transplant patients confidential is extremely difficult over time. The identity of the donor is less difficult because it can be compared with the global donors (the one from Valencia is exceptional and happened because of certain vicinity of the donor and the transplanted) But it is not too much to ask that Transplant Coordinators add the following to their protocol and authorizations: "The privacy of the recipients, because of the characteristics of the transplanted external organs, can be more difficult to keep anonymous because they are more obvious structures than when we are dealing with parenchyma or internal organs.

P.S. There are still many challenges ahead!


Dr. F. Hernández Altemir

Zaragoza 21 de agosto del 2009

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