Father may not donate liver for boy, doctors say

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 July, 2006, 12:00am

New doubts have arisen about the life-saving liver transplant needed by seven-year-old Louie Perez, because his father, the preferred donor, is still overweight.

A second liver biopsy is scheduled today to see the extent of fatty liver in Ernanie Perez, 27, who was diagnosed with the problem in Manila's Philippine General Hospital.

In the meantime the University of Hong Kong transplant team yesterday began preparatory work on the boy's mother, Mary Jean, who is the backup donor.

Mrs Perez said her husband had cut his bulk, on the advice of doctors, from 72kg to 66kg in the past year.

But Lo Chung-mau, the university's chair professor of hepatobiliary surgery said a scan on Friday revealed that Mr Perez still had persistent fatty liver.

'He has got evidence of fatty change and we need a liver biopsy,' he said.

'We need to take the work very seriously as the results would affect the health of two persons. There is no guarantee that he is suitable,' he said, adding that they may have to consider other volunteers.

South China Morning Post readers donated some $471,500 after an appeal was put out last Thursday to help Louie meet a shortfall for the $1 million required for a liver transplant. Yesterday's donations to SCMP Charities for Louie's fund included three cheques totalling $30,500, and $87,200 from various donors.

As the target has now been met, the Post will stop accepting donations at the close of business today.

A liver biopsy was scheduled on Monday but Mr Perez suffered some bleeding during the procedure. He was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital where he has been staying since then.

Mrs Perez, 26, said yesterday: 'I might be the alternative donor. I am OK with it.

'Louie knows. He asked me, 'Mama, have they taken your blood, will you be my donor? I told him, 'Yes, son. Anyway, we have the same blood type'.'

The Perez husband and wife, and their two sons have a common blood type B+ , which makes living liver donation easier.