HK comes to infant's aid
A wealthy reader has offered a substantial donation towards a HK$1 million medical bill for a 17-month-old baby from the mainland who urgently needs a liver transplant.
The reader was among 30 who responded after learning of the plight of little Li Liuxuan, from Henan province, in the Post yesterday.
Doctors are working to set up a fund through the University of Hong Kong to collect donations and pay for his transplant.
After hearing that several donors extended their help, the baby's parents said they were at a loss for words in expressing their gratitude.
'We've been rejected so many times in the mainland that we never imagined this would happen to us in Hong Kong,' said father Li Xianfeng. 'We truly feel Hong Kong people's love for us. We won't ever forget this in our lives. For all those who cared, we wish them well.'
He said they were turned away by half the hospitals they went to while travelling through the mainland to seek a cure for their baby, who was born with a blocked bile duct.
They learned only on Tuesday, after seeing a doctor at Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong, that a transplant would be the only option. However, the parents are worried about the risks of a transplant, despite reassurances from doctors.
'This overwhelmingly good thing has happened to us all of a sudden,' the father said. 'We're not sure how to face it and what to think.'
Professor Lo Chung-mau, director of the hospital's liver transplant centre, said he had explained to the family that the surgery had a 95 per cent success rate and that the adult donor's health would not be adversely affected by giving a quarter of his or her liver to the baby.
'It's understandable that [the parents] have worries, given their concept of medical services [on] the mainland,' Lo said.
The child's parents are also worried about their finances. They have 10,000 yuan (HK$12,200) left, but face up to HK$50,000 in medical bills, including check-ups to determine if they can be organ donors and other post-surgery costs.
Though they trust Hong Kong's medical technology, Li said he and his wife were apprehensive because of complications during the previous surgery performed on their baby.
Liuxuan had an operation on the blocked duct in a Guangzhou hospital in July last year when he was three months old. But the surgical opening became infected and doctors had to cut open the decaying flesh around the wound, and warned that Liuxuan might die. The baby survived, but his liver problem remained.
'We can't take that kind of blow again,' Li said.
Many readers responded through e-mail and phone calls that they wanted to help after reading about the baby's plight. One reader offered to be a liver donor.
'I was impressed by the couple's perseverance,' said a businesswoman who offered a donation. 'They have gone through so much hardship and now they've finally found a kind-hearted doctor who can help them. It would be a pity if they couldn't do it because of the money.'
Li Liuxuan was wrongly referred to as Li Xuan in yesterday's article.