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Human Skin Repository to Be Established at Hadassah Hospital

The Chief Rabbinate has finally relented and agreed to allow the Health Ministry to establish a “human skin repository” for transplants in cases of persons suffering severe burns. It will be located at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, under the supervision of the Israel Defense Force chief medical officer and the chief chaplain.

The lack of a skin bank in Israel was brought to public attention last March when hospitals were forced to fly in skin from abroad to save the lives of several soldiers who suffered third degree bums in a terrorist car bombing in south Lebanon. Twelve soldiers were killed and 14 badly burned.

The chief source of skin for transplant is cadavers. For religious reasons, the rabbinate bans autopsies. The skin and organs of deceased persons are thus not available for transplants.