The world's first inter-continental kidney paired donation has taken place between the U.S. and Greece. An American woman from Ohio donated a kidney to a patient in Greece, and the recipient's wife then donated a kidney to patient in America.
Ta Nea reported the medical first was announced at a press conference at the Greek Embassy in Washington. Greek Ambassador Vassilis Kaskarelis said "This joint effort confirms the large difference that can make a person... these measures confirm our faith in humanity and make us optimistic about our future. I hope this was the first of many such transplants around the world. "
According to News Medical paired kidney donation "takes place when a donor who is incompatible with the designated recipient promises to donate a kidney to a stranger in order to enable their designee to receive a compatible kidney from another stranger."
History was made when Greek patient Michalis Helmis received a kidney from an altruistic living donor, Elizabeth Gay from Oklahoma. UTS and Diego reported Helmis's wife then donated a kidney to a man in Pennsylvania. This started a chain of kidney donations, but the first one to involve donation from overseas.
Thus far the U.S -Greek chain has save five lives, that of Helmis in Greece and four patients in the U.S. Three further transplants will complete the chain which will include a donor from Trinidad and Tobago.
Speaking at the press conference, which was attended by donors, recipients, and doctors, U.S. Ambassador Eric Rubin said "this is proof of the close relationship between U.S. and Greek peoples."