Note: we are republishing this story amid a nationwide conversation about race relations in America.
A Russian man who received a new liver from a black donor claims his skin is now turning black after his operation.
Semen Gendler, 65, received the new liver after he was diagnosed with hepatitis C and cancer. The man from Russia's Krasnodar Krai region flew to the U.S. to receive the transplant.
“Russian doctors made it quite clear to me that if I didn’t have a liver transplant I would not live,” Gendler said. “I do a lot of business in the U.S. with partners in New York, and I asked them to help me arrange for the operation where if you have enough money it is possible to do it more quickly than in Russia.
“Fortunately, I was able to afford the cost of the $500,000 operation. In Russia, I would have had to wait too long for a donor."
The liver came from a 38-year-old black man and reportedly caused Gendler's skin to turn darker after the operation.
Gendler's former colleague Igor Atamanenko first pointed out that his skin seemed to be changing color.
“I noticed that his skin was getting darker,” Atamanenko said. “When he told me they had given him the liver of an African-American man, I guess that was probably the reason for the color change.
“I have known my friend for years, and he has always been if anything extremely pale, and now for the first time ever he is becoming dark-skinned."
Gendler does not mind the change.
“I could end up much darker than this, to be honest," he said. "I don't care. The main thing is that the liver works and I am healthy.”
Gendler says doctors are at a loss as to what is causing the color change.
"It's incredible," he said. "I am now so full of energy and living between two cities in New York and Krasnodar, and if my skin ends up dark, who cares? I certainly don't.”