Current Issue·Archives·Upcoming Events·Submit a Story

Additional Articles

UPMC forges partnership to bring world-class health care to Cyprus

A home for biotechnology in Palermo

Researcher's visit to ISMETT

Qatar — Nursing Leadership Course

UPMC business development: Building an integrated global health enterprise

IT at work for a paperless hospital

An interview with a transplant patient at ISMETT

Irish Cancer Centers earn prestigious quality award

Beacon Hospital welcomes new CFO

ISMETT cardiac surgeons act as high school teachers

UPMC at Arab Health 2009

National news coverage of Trilogy Technology at Beacon Hospital

May 2009

One on one...
An interview with a transplant patient at ISMETT

Georgi, 17-year-old transplant recipient

Georgi, a 17-year-old from Bulgaria, recently received a transplant at ISMETT in Palermo, Sicily. He was referred to UPMC and then ISMETT through a Bulgarian living in the United States. Georgi spoke with International Extra about his transplant experience. 

Georgi, can you tell us something about yourself, where you’re from, and what you study?
I’m from Yambol, in Bulgaria, which is about 350 kilometers from Sofia. I’m in my third year at a mathematics high school, where I’m focusing on information technology and computer programming.

Judging from your English, I would say you also study languages.
Yes, in fact the first year of study is devoted entirely to English and math.

How did you discover ISMETT?
When my health started to decline, my parents began looking for hospitals outside of Bulgaria that could treat me. They looked for centers in Russia and in Germany. In Germany, the situation was not simple. They offered to do a living-related kidney transplant, but my father has a different blood type. They said that they could work on my father’s kidney to make it transplantable, but this was very risky, so we decided against it. The operation also would have been quite expensive. So we were very confused about what to do. 

What happened then was that someone wrote about my case on an Internet site that describes Bulgarian pediatric cases and tries to find financial aid for these patients. A Bulgarian woman living in the United States read about me. She previously had helped a Bulgarian child get unique treatment at UPMC, so she was familiar with the center. She talked with the doctors at UPMC in Pittsburgh, and they told her about ISMETT. She then put ISMETT in touch with me. International Patient Services contacted me and set everything up.

Is this woman part of an international organization?
No. In fact, she’s not even a wealthy philanthropist or anything; she’s just an ordinary citizen who wants to help, and I really appreciate everything she’s done for me and my family.

When ISMETT notified you that an organ was available, were you in Italy or home in Bulgaria?
At the end of August 2008, I came to ISMETT for an evaluation and stayed until the beginning of September. On Jan. 10 this year, they called me in Bulgaria and told me that an organ was available. I was really excited. International Patient Services took care of everything: they arranged for the flights and within 20 hours, I was in Palermo for the transplant.

Can you tell us something about your experience with the clinical staff at ISMETT?
It’s been a very positive experience, of course. I’ve seen and dealt with a lot of doctors in Bulgaria and elsewhere, and no place has ever treated me as well as ISMETT. I think there are very good doctors and nurses here. I really love it.

What are your plans for the future?
I would like to study at the University of Sofia, find a job, and eventually have a family — just like an ordinary person.

Return to list of stories in this issue