• Wed
  • Apr 16, 2014
  • Updated: 8:30pm

So many patients dying needlessly while waiting for organ transplants

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 June, 2012, 12:00am

Earlier this year, you reported on my plight ('Husband has week to live unless he gets a new liver', January 20).

Following a roller-coaster of a month of hope, expectation and disappointment, I was very lucky to receive a deceased donor liver transplant on February 2.

An organ donation really does make a difference and after a three-month period convalescing at home, I am happy to say that I am back at work and once again leading a normal life with my family.

I am grateful for the publicity highlighting my case and for all the messages of support that I received from your readers.

In particular, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the deceased donor's family and the medical team at Queen Mary Hospital.

However, my case also serves to highlight the fact that any patient who receives a deceased donor liver transplant in Hong Kong is a very lucky person.

Since my transplant, I am advised that there have been only nine deceased liver donor transplants at Queen Mary Hospital and in that same period I am sorry to learn that nine people have died waiting for a transplant.

The generosity, charity and cultural attitudes of Hong Kong people towards organ donation are changing. I have seen this myself.

However, the demand for organs significantly surpasses the number of donors in Hong Kong and at the end of last year, there were only 91,000 registered donors on the Hong Kong Centralised Organ Donation Register.

By my reckoning, that's a paltry 0.01 per cent of the population. By comparison, in other developed countries, the figures stand at around 30 per cent of the population.

As of 2011, 109 patients were on the liver transplant waiting list but there were only 74 liver transplants in the same year.

The position with respect to kidney transplantation is far worse, with 1,781 patients on the kidney waiting list in 2011 but with only 67 transplants in that same year.

I would like to urge readers, if they have not done so already, to register on the organ donation register (www.organdonation.gov.hk/eng/home.html).

It will only take a few minutes of your time and could be the greatest gift you have ever made bringing new life to others.

Benny Lee Chi-yan, Tai Po

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