Ruhollah Solook, a retired electrician living in Santa Monica, Calif., was in a desperate bind. He urgently needed a kidney transplant, as well as a series of radiation therapy diagnoses and treatments. The nuclear medicine was available in the United States, but the kidney was not.
Solook, 78, an Iranian Jew who emigrated decades ago, never expected to find both in his native country. But there he was this month, recovering in an isolated room in Tehran’s oldest hospital with a new kidney donated by a friend.
“They have saved my life here,” he said. “Now I hope they can cure me.”
In Iran, an estimated 850,000 kidney, heart and cancer patients are facing a race against time. Although these patients are in need of post-surgery treatment with nuclear medicine, doctors and nuclear scientists here say domestic production will dry up when a research reactor in Tehran runs out of fuel, perhaps as soon as this spring. [continued…]
As Marie Pryor shuffles along a Mississippi roadside collecting discarded drink cans to sell for a few cents, her breath comes in short puffs caused by a congenital heart defect. The same condition caused her granddaughter’s death earlier this year.
The last place on earth she would look for help is Iran, a country widely regarded in America as the enemy. The US and Iran have not had diplomatic relations for 30 years and the two governments trade daily insults over Iran’s nuclear programme. Last week Tehran charged three American hikers with espionage after they apparently strayed across the border.
But with Congress acrimoniously debating the reform of healthcare, it is to Iran that one of America’s poorest communities is turning to try to resolve its own health crisis.
A US doctor and a development consultant visited Iran in May to study a primary healthcare system that has cut infant mortality by more than two-thirds since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
Then, in October, five top Iranian doctors, including a senior official at the health ministry in Tehran, were quietly brought to Mississippi to advise on how the system could be implemented there. [continued…]