EAMS, Ministry of Health Give First Annual Awards for Contributions to Organ Donation and Transplantation

Executive Agency “Medical Supervision” and the Ministry of Health established the 2019 Annual Awards for Contribution to Organ Donation and Transplantation in Bulgaria. This awards are a part of the “Yes to Life!” National Campaign. Nine donor families and 36 doctors from across Bulgaria were awarded for their contributions amounting to 14 donations which saved a total of 41 people – 32 Bulgarians and 9 from other European countries.

Today, we are taking the first step. Perhaps it has been a long time coming, but it is necessary. Today, we want to express our gratitude and appreciation to all the people involved in a transplantation process. Above all, this means the donor’s family, who make the decision to save another person’s life. I would also like to thank donation coordinators and the physicians who perform the transplantation; and doctors and medical staff who provide care for the transplanted person during the post-transplantation period, EAMS executive director Rosen Ivanov said in his address.

It’s exciting to be here today and to have the honour of launching an important cause, a life-saving one. Yet it is not as noble as the acts of the people we are here to honour. I want to thank the families, the donors’ loved ones, because theirs was a difficult decision made in a dark time. I extend thanks to the medical teams and donation coordinators, too. We couldn’t do this without them. They are our heroes, Kiril Ananiev, Minister of Health, said at the opening ceremony. He addressed the attendees, saying that organ donation could only be compared to giving birth. So let’s come together and bring organ donation and transplantation to an even higher level. Organ donation is not merely a humane cause, it is a sacred act of life-giving. Let us all say “Yes to Life!”, he invited the audience. The Minister assured donors’ families and the attending physicians that this award ceremony would not be a one-off event. These awards will be an annual occurrence and thus an incentive and motivation to save more lives, he added.

Minister Kiril Ananiev presented the Star statuette and a letter of thanks to nine donor families who gave consent for the organs of their loved ones to be used to save strangers. Among them were Tereza Raleva, Yordan Aleksandrov, Magdalena Kushleva, Angel Angelov, Daniela Yordanova, Detelina Muladzhova and Dimitrina Staneva.

Organ donation coordinators and the directors of the hospitals where the 14 donations of this year were completed were awarded for their tireless work and high professionalism by EAMS executive director Rosen Ivanov. The highest number of donations were completed in the Multi-Profile District Hospital for Active Treatment Dr. Stefan Cherkezov in Veliko Tarnovo, and its director, Dr. Stefan Filev, and coordinators Dr. Sibila Marinova and Vanya Lachezarova were awarded for their work. their efforts saved the lives of 10 Bulgarians and 2 foreigners.

Two of the 14 donations completed in 2019 took place in the University Multi-Profile Hospital for Active Treatment and Emergency Care N. I. Pirogov despite the enormous strain on doctors working in Bulgaria’s Emergency Hospital. The result was six saved lives – of four Bulgarians and two foreign citizens. The donations were coordinated by Dr. Krasimir Binev and Dr. Aleksandar Kantarski.

Another two donations took place in the University Multi-Profile Hospital for Active Treatment Sveta Marina, under the direction of professor Viliyan Platikanov. They resulted in ten saved lives – seven Bulgarians and two people from other European countries.

The organ donation coordinator in Pleven, Dr. Georgi Dimitrov, made it possible for four people in need to get a new chance to live.

Dr. Andon Arabadzhiev and the executive director of the Multi-Profile Hospital for Active Treatment Dr. Nikola Vasilev in Kyustendil, Dr. Aleksandar Velichkov, gave two Bulgarian citizens a chance to live better and independent lives.

The University Hospital in Burgas has also contributed to European solidarity, giving new life to another European citizen. Dr. Milena Mineva and the director of the University Multi-Profile Hospital for Active Treatment Burgas, Dr. Boyko Mirazchiyzki, played an active role in the successful partnership with the respective German clinic.

This year, thanks to the united efforts of two hospitals, four people received a new lease on life – 2 Bulgarian and 2 German citizens. The teams of the University Multi-Profile Hospital for Active Treatment Sveti Ivan Rilski, Sofia, led by Dr. Rositsa Tanova, and the Lozenets University Hospital, led by organ donation coordinator Dr. Ognyan Shalamanov, successfully completed the donation.

Another three people on the Bulgarian waiting list got a chance to live in Silistra, thanks to the confident and competent actions of Dr. Radoslav Nedelchev and Multi-Profile Hospital for Active Treatment Silistra director Dr. Daniela Kostadinova.

Dr. Daniela Daritkova, who chairs the Healthcare Committee in the 44th Parliament, presented the awards to the directors of the hospitals where transplantations were performed over the year, and to the heads of the transplantation teams.

The awards were accepted by Military Medical Academy director Major General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski, together with the dean and head of the Liver and Pancreas Surgery and Transplant Clinic, professor Dr. Nikola Vladov, and the head of the Gastroenterology Clinic professor, Dr. Krum Katsarov; the head of the Intensive Care Clinic, Dr. Evelina Odiseeva; associate professor Dr. Vasil Mihaylov from the Liver and Pancreas Surgery and Transplant Clinic; and the head of First Abdominal Surgery Clinic, associate professor Dr. Ivelin Takorov.

Fourteen of this year’s transplantations were performed in the Aleksandrovska hospital, whose team members distinguished at the ceremony were: the executive director, associate professor Dr. Kostadin Angelov; Nephrology and Transplant Clinic head, professor Dr. Emil Paskalev; Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Clinic head, professor Dr. Atanas Temelkov; Emergency Room team leader and organ donation and transplantation coordinator Dr. Nikolay Hubanov; Urology Clinic head, Dr. Marin Georgiev; Laparascopic Urology head, associate professor Dr. Krasimir Yanev; Clinical Immunology Clinic head, professor Dr. Elisaveta Naumova; and Clinical Laboratory and Clinical Pharmacology Clinic head, professor Dr. Dobrin Svinarov.

The Lozenets University Hospital boasts the highest number of transplantations performed in 2019 – twenty-two. One of them was the lung transplantation performed under a month ago by professor Lyumobir Spasov and his team under the supervision of doctors from a Hanover hospital. The Lozenets hospital awardees were: professor Lyumobir Spasov; associate professor Dr. Vili Pashev from the Sector for Training and Research in Cardiac and Vascular Surgery; Dr. Miroslav Zashev from the Sector for Training and Research in General Surgery, Urology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Dr. Vasil Kozarov from the Sector for Training and Research in Cardiac and Vascular Surgery; the head of the General Surgery Clinic, associate professor Dr. Radosvet Gornev; Dr. Boril Petrov from the Sector for Training and Research in General Surgery, Urology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Two hearts were transplanted this year by the team headed by professor Dr. Gencho Nachev, executive director of the University Multi-Profile Hospital for Active Treatment Sveta Ekaterina. Together with associate professor Dr. Boyan Baev from the Cardiac Surgery Clinic, professor Dimitar Petkov, UMPHAT Sveta Ekaterina deputy medical director, and Dr. Ivan Natsev, transplant coordinator, enabled two of the most difficult transplantations.

As of 23 November 2019, there are 1161 people on the waiting list.

You can find pictures from the event in our gallery.