Time running out for liver patient

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 July, 2011, 12:00am


The search for an organ donor who could save the life of a patient with acute liver failure continues, even though more than 40 people volunteered yesterday following media reports of the case.

'No suitable donor has been found,' said Crystal Ku Wing-yin, niece of the patient.

Time is running out for Ricky Cheng Kin-kwong, 42, who needs to find a donor today, as his liver functions have deteriorated to the extent that he now needs assistance to breathe.

Ku said more than 40 people called the family yesterday, while 10 people went to the hospital for checks. One offer of help even came from Kuala Lumpur, where a resident expressed willingness to be a donor after reading the South China Morning Post yesterday.

'My cousin and I kept on receiving calls today, but so far no one suitable has been found,' Ku said.

She said some volunteers did not have family consent, whereas some were smokers and were therefore deemed unsuitable.

Ku urged non-smokers, preferably below the age of 50, who are healthy and have not had any major operations to come forward as soon as possible, but stressed family consent should be obtained.

'Our family is devastated and has exhausted all means to find a solution, yet our efforts have been in vain,' she said. 'We hope a suitable donor will come forward and change the destiny not only of the patient, but the whole family.'

Cheng has been placed at the top of the waiting list for a liver from a deceased donor, but it is rare to find a suitable and functional one. His siblings are all deemed unsuitable, as the family has hereditary hepatitis B and the blood types of other relatives do not match.

He is drifting in and out of consciousness, his speech is slurred, his skin yellow and his bodily functions poor.

Cheng has been a hepatitis B carrier since he was young and has required medication to control the condition. Two weeks ago, he experienced acute heartburn and was admitted to the Caritas Medical Centre in Sham Shui Po.

He was originally prescribed drugs but the situation worsened and he was transferred to Queen Mary Hospital. Doctors said Cheng's condition had become drug-resistant and that his kidney function was deteriorating along with his liver. Only a transplant can save him.

Ku can be reached on 6390 2512 if readers feel they can help.