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Korean doctors help transplant liver in Nepal

Feb 28,2017
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The Samsung Medical Center team with their Nepalese counterparts after the liver transplant. [Samsung Medical Center]
On Dec. 7, 2016, a team from Samsung Medical Center’s Organ Transplantation Center conducted the first liver transplant from a living donor in Nepal. The operation took place at the Human Organ Transplant Center in Bhaktapur and was conducted with a local Nepalese medical team.

The doctors transplanted part of a woman’s liver to her brother, a 41-year-old patient suffering from liver failure. The operation was led by a Samsung Medical Center team that included Joh Jae-won, Kwon Choon-hyuck and Choi Gyuseong.

Bhaktapur’s Human Organ Transplant Center is located about 8 miles away from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. It is the third hospital established by the Nepalese government and the first medical center in the country specializing in organ transplants.

In Nepal, 1,000 people fall victim to liver problems every year. Among them, 200 people suffer from hepatic insufficiency, also known as liver failure. With the current medical infrastructure and facilities, it is impossible to conduct liver transplants in Nepal, so many people travel abroad for the costly operation.

Samsung Medical Center’s operation in Nepal was therefore a turning point. Although the operation took longer than usual because of lacking facilities and skill on the part of the local medical team, it was successful.

From Jan. 31 to Feb. 3 this year, the president of the Human Organ Transplant Center and a professor visited Samsung Medical Center in Seoul to observe a liver transplant from a living donor.

“It is a great achievement for us to have had a successful liver transplant at our center,” said Pukar Chandra Shrestha, president of the center in Nepal. “Patients in Nepal are hopeful that they will be able to receive operations without traveling abroad. It is a great hope for all of us.”

“I was awed by the superb medical team and the newest technologies including electronic medical records,” Prof. Neeraj Govinda Joshi said. “I am happy to have experienced the systematic and professional medical system at Samsung Medical Center.”

“Doctors from not only developing countries like India, Kazakhstan, and Nepal but also developed countries come to our center to receive training,” said Joh Jae-won and Kwon Choon-hyuck. “We will support local doctors to teach them necessary techniques and how to perform operations independently.”

Samsung Medical Center plans to continue collaborating with Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Welfare to help more people who need liver transplants.