A woman's eye - Reuters A woman's eye - Reuters

Man’s cornea removal ignites controversy in Egypt

Wed, Aug. 1, 2018
CAIRO – 1 August 2018: Amid calls for people worldwide to donate their organs after death, an incident that occurred this week in Egypt had stirred debate over the ethicality of removing organs from dead bodies without prior permission.

Mohamed Abdel Tawab is a citizen who died at Kasr Al-Ainy Hospital due to a drop in blood pressure as he was lying in The Intensive Care Unit awaiting a cardiac catheterization operation. After his family had arrived to the hospital, they foundhis corneasmissing from hisbody, and subsequentlyfiled a complaint at the police department.

In response, Dean of Kasr Al-Ainy Medical School FathyKhodeir told “Al-AsheraMasaan” TV show that only the posterior surface of the corneaswereremoved which is a measure allowed by a law issued in 2003. The law states that cornea banks can obtaincorneas from the following sources:

1) Corneas of individuals who give prior documented permission.
2) Corneas of individuals who die in accidents and whose bodies are subject to autopsy by prosecution.
3) Corneas of individuals who die in hospitals and medical institutions licensed to establish cornea banks under the supervision of three senior doctors.

However, the law prohibits the selling or exporting of those corneas, pushing patients who need corneal transplantation to seek treatment in those licensed public medical institutions.

Magdi Morshed, member of the health committee at the Parliament, said in an interview with “Yahdoth Fi Misr” TV show that the cornea is not an organ, and that it is a tissue. Thus, its removal without permission is not a breach of law regulating organ transplant.

On the other hand, Ahmed, the brother of the deceased told media he had doubts the cornea had been removed before death.

The news stirred angry comments from social media users who expressed their disdain for “disrespecting the deceased and the feelings of their families.”
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