SPAIN has once again found its way to the top spot in the world when it comes to the numbers of organ donations and transplants. According to the National Transplant Organisation (ONT), it’s an honour the country has now held for around 30 years.
The leader of the ONT – Dr Rafael Matesanz – who only recently won the ‘Universal Spaniard 2017 Award’ said that a new record has been sent this year, with the figure of 43.8 donors per million of the population in 2016 eclipsed by the 45 per million so far this year. It’s expected that over 5,000 transplants will be carried out in Spain by the end of 2017.
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 25 years, more than 100,000 organ transplants have been carried out in Spain, although the figure rises to half a million if you take into account transplants such as bone marrow, stem cells and skin grafts.
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 Spanish household names such as the author Camilo José Cela, Margarita Salas, Miguel Induráin, Vicente Ferrer, and world number one tennis player Rafa Nadal.