Abu Dhabi: Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) only offers pre-surgery procedures for recipients in need of an organ transplant, given they have their surgery at the hospital.

"If the patient has a live donor then there's no reason to go anywhere else. They can get the transplant here," Dr Abrar Khan, head of the transplant programme, at SKMC told Gulf News.

"If they don't have a donor then they will now be placed on the yet-to-be-developed waiting list. Each transplant centre capable of doing the needed surgery will require doing these tests on their own."

Even though the UAE Ministry of Health approved multi-organ transplants after death, Dr Khan said the infrastructure, policies, protocols and training of the staff for the full effect of the law's benefit to be seen would take one or two years to develop.

"Infrastructure includes tissue-matching labs, transport systems, communication systems, donor databases and the like," he said.

"And of course, the programme cannot expand unless it is supported by a generous and knowledgeable public who accept the principles of organ donation," he added.

"There is really no such thing as an emergency transplant. By its very nature, any individual in need of an organ would consider their case an emergency."

According to the transplant expert, the National Organ Transplant Committee is looking into granting drivers the opportunity to have it stated on their car registrations that they wish to donate their organs.