A matter of life and death

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 12:00am

A middle-aged man was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital in Pokfulam on Sunday night, comatose and suffering acute liver failure.

He needed a liver transplant urgently because unlike those with chronic liver failure he could not survive a year or more waiting for a donor organ.

Then someone, in death, saved the man's life.

He was uncommonly lucky, according to the head of the hospital's transplant team, Professor Fan Sheung-tat, of the University of Hong Kong.

An organ became available from a donor who died, and the man received the transplant on Monday night, less than a day after he was admitted.

Yesterday, he was recovering satisfactorily. Professor Fan said: 'We anticipate that he will be OK.'

The professor said the Queen Mary team had performed three liver transplants this month, with the other two patients receiving partial livers from living donors.

He encouraged people to register as organ donors, enabling more lives to be saved.

Professor Fan also urged the government to provide more money to the Hospital Authority for life-saving transplants.

'The amount of money we're talking about is not huge,' he said.