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.