A three-way organ swap took place this week between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, in which family members of three people requiring a transplant donated their kidneys in exchange for kidneys for ailing loved ones.

It was the first time an organ exchange has taken place between the two countries.

In Israel, Shani Markowitz had her kidney removed by doctors at Sheba Medical Center early last Wednesday morning. The organ was quickly flown to Abu Dhabi, where it was to be transplanted into a local resident.

“We started the procedure at 5:30 in the morning to accommodate the flight time so that the kidney will not stay too long in the box, in the cooler,” said professor Eytan Mor, the head of the transplant center at Sheba, following the operation.

Meanwhile, the kidney of a relative of that same Abu Dhabi resident will be removed and transported to Israel for transplantation into a patient at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa. A relative of the Rambam patient is undergoing surgery at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikvah and donating a kidney to Markowitz’s mother.

Mor noted that talks to establish collaboration in the field of organ transplants between the two countries began some six months ago, and were made possible by the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel and the UAE last September.

“I hope that this collaboration will open a door for further collaboration in other fields of medicine between us and the Emirates,” he said.

This article was first published by Israel21c.

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