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Spain sets new records for transplant operations
SPAIN is yet again top in the world for numbers of transplants and organ donations – an honour it has held for around three decades, according to the National Transplant Organisation (ONT).
Its former leader, Dr Rafael Matesanz – who recently won the prestigious 'Universal Spaniard 2017 Award', says this year has seen a new record set: from 43.8 donors per million inhabitants in 2016, the figure is now up to 45 per million and by the end of December, well over 5,000 transplant operations will have been carried out.
Dr Matesanz says 5,000 transplants was the goal for the year 2020, and Spain will have surpassed it three years early.
Over the last quarter-century, more than 100,000 organ transplants have been carried out in Spain, although the figure rises to half a million if transplants such as bone marrow, stem cells and skin grafts are taken into account.
This puts Spain at more than double the European Union's figure, and 13% above that of the USA.
“Anyone living in Spain who has needed a transplant to be able to carry on living has been fortunate enough to be in the place where they have the best opportunities of this happening, and with no discrimination whatsoever, either positive or negative,” Dr Matesanz stresses.
As well as internal organ donations – which include live-donor kidney and partial liver transplants – Spain has been a pioneer in transplanting limbs, even legs above the knee and arms above the elbow, and was the first country in Europe to carry out a successful face transplant.
The 'Universal Spaniard Award', presented every year by the Independent Foundation and, this time, jointly with HM Hospitals, has been won by household names such as the author Camilo José Cela, Margarita Salas, Miguel Induráin, Vicente Ferrer, and world number one tennis player Rafa Nadal.
Dr Matesanz received the prize in recognition of his lifetime's work over the 25-year career of the ONT which, its leader says, started out as a small association and is 'proof that the tiniest of organisations can grow into something that changes the whole of society'.
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