OKAYAMA – Several organs were harvested Wednesday from a young girl who had been declared brain dead at Osaka University Hospital in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, in the third organ transplant case in Japan involving a child under the age of 6.
The girl became brain dead Tuesday while she was preparing to get a heart transplant herself in the United States, according to officials of the Japan Organ Transplant Network.
The girl had a serious heart disease and had an auxiliary mechanical heart. She was scheduled to get a heart transplant in the U.S. as her artificial art caused problems many times, forcing her to undergo surgery to get tubes replaced each time.
Earlier this month, a blood clot in her heart traveled to the brain and caused a cerebral infarction.
“When we learned that she was brain dead, we decided right away to be an organ donor, as we have become keenly aware of the fact that there are few transplant cases in Japan (due to a shortage of donors),” the girl’s parents said in a statement released Tuesday. “We were in the dark for three months after she became sick. We want to offer a ray of light to others feeling the same way.”
Her family agreed to provide her lungs, liver and kidneys, according to the network.
The lungs are expected to be given to a girl under 10 and the liver to a woman in her 50s, both at Okayama University Hospital, the network said.
One of the kidneys will be given to a woman in her 40s at Osaka Medical College Hospital and the other kidney will be transplanted into a woman in her 60s at Hyogo College of Medicine Hospital, the network said.
Under the revised organ transplant law that took effect in 2010, organs can be taken from anyone regardless of age with family consent, unless the individual in question explicitly refused.
But tougher brain-death criteria are applied to children under 6.
The first case, in June 2012, involved a boy who was declared brain dead at Toyama University Hospital. The second case, last November, involved a girl pronounced brain dead at Juntendo University Hospital in Tokyo.