Lungs of soldier killed by accidental gunshot transplanted to COVID patient

In first surgery of its kind in Israel, organs of Yonatan Granot, 22, are donated to man in his 60s whose lungs were wrecked by virus

Staff Sgt. Yonatan Granot, killed by an apparent accidental discharge from another serviceman’s weapon in the Jordan Valley (Courtesy)
Staff Sgt. Yonatan Granot, killed by an apparent accidental discharge from another serviceman’s weapon in the Jordan Valley (Courtesy)

The family of a soldier killed by an apparent accidental gunshot said his lungs were donated to a man recovering from COVID-19.

Staff Sgt. Yonatan Granot, 22, was shot in the head Tuesday night and died of his wounds on Friday morning. He served in the Nahal Brigade infantry unit.

His family made the decision to donate his organs to save the lives of others, a hospital spokesperson said.

His lungs were transplanted to a man in his 60s whose lungs were destroyed by the virus. A transplant was seen as the only way for him to survive, the Ynet news site reported.

The operation was the first lung transplant for a COVID-19 case in Israel, the report said.

Dr. Amir Onn, director of the pulmonology department at the Sheba Medical Center, said the operation was a success.

“This is a great achievement because the surgical process was very difficult, but the doctors did it, and are now working to keep the man alive in intensive care,” he said.

According to the IDF’s initial probe into the incident, Granot was struck by a .22-caliber round for a Ruger rifle, a type of munition normally used for riot dispersal as it is considered less lethal than the larger caliber rounds typically used by the military.

The bullet was discharged when a commander picked up a rifle that had earlier been used at a firing range during training. The bullet struck Granot in the head, critically injuring him.

He was evacuated by helicopter to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem for treatment. According to the hospital, his death was declared Friday morning.

A spokesperson for the IDF said the matter was still being investigated by the Military Police, the findings of which will be given to IDF prosecutors to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

As this was the second time in under a week that a soldier was shot on base, the commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ Ground Forces halted all live-fire exercises until the military’s safety protocol are reviewed by all ground units, the military said.

On Sunday night, a soldier on a base in central Israel accidentally discharged his weapon, shooting himself. According to the IDF, he sustained only light injuries and was taken to the hospital.

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