WALKING DISTANCE TO THE HOSPITAL…
Not only do patients have to arrive to the city weeks before a potential transplant takes place, they also need to stay close by for at least two months following in order to undergo regular check-ups. As a result, patients from Diyarbakır to Istanbul, Tokat to Hakkâri to name just a few of the variety of provinces patients arrive from in addition to those who come from countries such as Georgia or Azerbaijan, have to spend months residing in the city. Usually joined by their families, these patients rent out homes or lodging in what will be the location where they take the first steps of their second chance at life.
The Kültür neighborhood, situated nearby the Akdeniz University Hospital has practically been transformed into a 'transplant neighborhood'. No matter which apartment or home you enter, chances are you will run into an organ transplant survivor. Some patients have undergone liver transplants and others kidney transplants, while some wait in excitement for their day to come.
Part of this excitement may also be due to the unique 'transplant neighborliness' which is becoming a new tradition in the area. People from different provinces and various cultures sharing the same fate, offer support to one another over a morning coffee or an afternoon tea, laying the brickwork for lifelong friendships.
Hailing from Eskişehir, Özcan Keskin has been living in this neighborhood for a month now. His children came to visit him during their semester break. He explains that he is able to walk to get his check-ups.
Ahmet Kulahan, who rents out private suits to transplant patients states, "These suites which we once prepared to rent out to students are now being rented by families who have to live in Antalya due to a family member needing an organ transplant. It is crucial that furnished apartments are clean, because these patients are at risk of infection. We have decorated them to provide the best type of living conditions. In addition to our suites there are also apart-hotels.
The Antalya Municipality has also allocated guest lodging for families of those receiving transplants to stay."
Last year alone, the Antalya University Medical School conducted transplants on a total 242 patients. Seven people were given leases on a new life with heart transplants. The hospital also conducted their first-ever uterus transplant. In addition, 204 people underwent kidney transplants, 22 people had liver transplants and eight individuals began new lives with new pancreases. The team which was transferred from Akdeniz University to Medicalpark Hospital broke a new world record for recovery figures following a transplant. They conducted a total of 516 kidney transplants, 35 people received livers and 14 underwent pancreas transplants.
According to Medical Park Antalya Hospital's Organ Transplant Department Chairman Prof. Dr. Demirbaş, "Antalya is not only Turkey's largest transplant center; it is also the largest in the world." Famed for having recently conducted the first-ever face transplant in Turkey, Plastic Surgeon Prof. Dr. Ömer Özkan states: "Everyone was expecting the first face transplant to be done at the Akdeniz University. Our University Hospital is truly very successful when it comes to transplants. Even if the donor had popped up from Istanbul or Ankara, the first transplant was still definitely going to take place here because we were the first to receive permission, we were very prepared as a university and this is a true team job and we have an excellent team here in Antalya."
ANTALYA'S SERIES OF FIRSTS
Turkey's first-ever adolescent blood incompatibility organ transplant.
Turkey's first-ever three-way by-pass and kidney transplant.
The world's first simultaneous cardiac valve and kidney transplant conducted on a 54 year-old patient.
The world's first kidney transplant on a Hepatitis C patient whose blood and tissue groups are incompatible.
Turkey's first-ever kidney transplant between two incompatible blood groups.
The oldest kidney transplant recipient to have received an organ from someone still alive.
A liver transplant conducted with the oldest cadaver donor.
A kidney transplant conducted with youngest cadaver donor.
An organ transplant on an 18-month old baby.
A 49 year-old grandmother donated her kidney to her 21-month old grandchild.
The first double arm transplant.
The first uterus transplant.
Turkey's first-ever face transplant.
The first triple limb transplant.