Liver centre's wish for more cash comes true

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 January, 2007, 12:00am

Announcement coincides with new fund-raiser

The liver transplant centre got its wish for more money from the Hospital Authority - on the same day surgeons helped launch the Wish U Well fund-raising campaign.

Fan Sheung-tat, known as the city's 'father of liver transplants', revealed the news after launching the Liver Foundation's donation campaign yesterday.

Several children who received life-saving transplants were on hand to offer their wishes to the campaign, for which a temporary fountain has been set up on the ground floor of Queen Mary Hospital to receive coin donations.

The new annual funding, from the 2007-08 financial year, would be used to renovate the liver transplant ward and recruit one consultant, one senior resident, and two transplant co-ordinators, said Dr Fan, chair professor of the surgery department at the University of Hong Kong. At present, there are five surgeons and one co-ordinator.

Referring to the centre's plans, authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, who was at the launch, said: 'We will support their action.' He did not elaborate.

From January to September last year, 42 living liver transplants were performed at the centre, compared with 17 from deceased donors. About 130 patients were still on the waiting list, said Dr Fan, adding that 90 per cent of those who are critically ill will die without receiving a new liver.

Dr Fan said he would encourage more people to donate their organs on death. He said in addition to being cheaper, recipients who received livers from deceased donors had a lower chance of developing complications. Worldwide, there have been 14 documented deaths of living donors, including one in Hong Kong - a rate of one in 200.

Penny Poon Wai-fong, who donated part of her organ to her five-year-old daughter, So Tsz-ling, said: 'Not everybody is lucky like me to have close relatives who can donate. We hope everybody will sign donor cards.'

Five-year-old Evelyn Choy's mother said her daughter owed her aunt - who lives in Canada - for her second chance at life. Evelyn, who had blocked bile ducts in her liver, received one-third of her aunt's organ when she was five months old.

Yeung Lai-lang, a Vietnamese-Chinese Hong Kong resident, said her sister, Lee-fan, donated part of her liver to her 22-month-old son.

Her husband, Lui Chi-kei, said her wife's siblings - who all live in Vietnam - volunteered to donate, but his own family 'did not care'.