8 non-local patients saved by liver surgery

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 March, 2006, 12:00am

Eight patients from outside Hong Kong, including two children, are alive today after having liver transplants at Queen Mary Hospital.

The transplant programme has come under the spotlight after an appeal on behalf of a Filipino toddler, Mark Jairus Mendoza, to raise the extra $270,000 needed to pay for the life-saving operation at the hospital.

Patients who are not Hong Kong residents are required to pay $1 million for the liver transplant, the actual cost of the procedure. Locals, by contrast, pay a $50 admission fee and $100 a day.

The eight patients - five males and three females aged seven to 63 - represented 1.7 per cent of 472 liver transplants at the hospital from 1991 to last year, said Fan Sheung-tat, who is in charge of the programme.

The two children were from Macau. Of the adults, two came from Myanmar and there was one each from the Philippines, Macau, France and Pakistan. They received live liver transplants, as only locals are entitled to donated organs.

Professor Fan said that of the 61 local children who have had liver transplants at the hospital, 38 had biliary atresia, the same genetic defect afflicting Mark. It is marked by the absence or closure of ducts that drain bile from the liver.

The 21/2-year-old will receive a small part of liver from his mother, Lyden. 'A big liver graft for a small child is not better because the abdomen cannot accommodate the graft,' Professor Fan said.

Post readers have donated $8,300 in response to the boy's plight. The money is being handled by the Philippine consulate.

Vice-consul Noel Novicio said the boy's parents would be kept informed of the daily tally. The consulate has placed three sealed collection boxes on the premises. Those who want to donate should go to the Philippine consulate, 14/F United Centre in Admiralty, and ask for Mr Novicio (2823 8505 or 2823 8509).