WATCH: Video report filed on Tuesday.
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – A 41-old patient who received a liver donated by his brother has died in a Duhok hospital days after his donor brother also died following a transplant surgery conducted by a visiting American medical team.
Nawzad Ahmad was in a coma since the surgery on Monday. He died on Friday in Duhok, Rudaw’s Peshawa Pahlawi reported.
Dr. Ghazi Zebari, the American-Kurdish transplant surgeon leading the medical team from the charity Operation HOPE, told reporters in a press conference on Thursday that Isa died from bleeding and an air leak into his heart during the final stages of the transplant operation.
“The cause of his death was not bleeding alone, but air leaked into his heart,” Dr. Zebari said. “There was nothing we could do at that stage to save his life.”
Dr. Zebari said that they informed the family about the cause of death.
The brothers’ family had told Rudaw on Tuesday that they were told the cause of Isa’s death was bleeding.
“The doctor said – what was the word for it – bleeding. They said we could not treat it, and he dies. That is all they said. What can I say to the doctor now?" asked Isa’s mother.
Zebari said that he and his team have been doing these operations around the world for many years. In Kurdistan, they train local staff and help patients to receive treatment in the Region, especially the many who cannot afford to go abroad.
The brothers’ mother had told Rudaw that they sought medical treatment for Nawzad abroad, but were unsuccessful. Isa, therefore, volunteered to donate part of his liver to his brother.
Dr. John Thomas, founder of Operation HOPE, praised the records of the doctors on his team, saying he has full trust in their abilities.
“It’s very rare that somebody will die on the table, but it can happen,” he stated, He declined to comment directly on the case.
Dr. Ahmad Mukhtar, head of Duhok's syndicate for surgeons, said the liver transplant is a “risky surgery.”
He said his syndicate along with the health department would form a committee to investigate the matter.
Operation HOPE comes to the Kurdistan Region every year. This is Dr. Thomas’ 18th trip, bringing a different team of specialist doctors to conduct consultations and operations. They also train Kurdish doctors in specialized techniques.