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Oil exec funds Mayo Clinic extreme transplant center

A Saudi oil executive's $10 million gift to Mayo Clinic will create a reconstructive transplant center in Rochester that will treat people who have lost limbs in accidents or war.

Eventually, Mayo would like to establish face transplantation as part of the center's efforts.

The gift creates the Essam and Dalal Obaid Center for Reconstructive Transplant Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Dr. Samir Mardini, a Mayo facial reconstructive surgeon, said the center will evaluate patients needing hand transplants, along with those who have forearm amputations. Mardini said Mayo has already approached the U.S. military about the center at Mayo.

The center can help people with a range of injuries from war-related to farming accidents. A farmer who loses an arm in a farm accident would be assessed immediately to see if he's a limb transplant candidate. But patients with amputations that occurred even five years ago might be candidates, Mardini said.


In the announcement, Terek Obaid, 35, co-founder and CEO of PetroSaudi, a privately held oil exploration and production company based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, said he provided the gift in honor or his parents.

"We are honored to be able to help Mayo Clinic establish this center. We know it can have a profound impact on patients and it is our pleasure to support these programs," Obaid said.

In the future, Mayo Clinic plans to expand to include face transplantation, which will complement Mayo Clinic's existing facial reconstructive surgery program for complex deformities of the face caused by congenital issues, trauma and illness.

Mardini said patients who have a reconstructive need should not be afraid to contact Mayo, regardless of socioeconomic status. That's because financial assistance is available for some patients.

"We want to see and evaluate as many patients as we can who think that they might be candidates because they're missing either a hand or the upper extremity at the level of the forearm or even the whole arm," he said. "Based on each individual patient's needs, we'll have to see if they are good candidates for this type of reconstruction."

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