Doctors optimistic about Hong Kong mother’s recovery following two liver transplants

Tang Kwai-sze still in critical condition, dependent on ventilators and dialysis machines at Queen Mary Hospital

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 April, 2017, 12:08pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 April, 2017, 7:05pm

The medical team of a mother who endured two separate liver transplants was “very optimistic” about her recovery yesterday.

But Dr Kelvin Ng Kwok-chai, from the liver transplant centre at Queen Mary Hospital, said Tang Kwai-sze remained critical.

He said her kidneys were still dependent on dialysis following the second operation, which involved a liver from a dead person.

Tang had developed a fungal infection in her windpipe, but it was now under control, he said.

“I met her this morning and the cadaveric liver she received is functioning very well. All the liver function indices are improving even though they are still not in the normal range. But we are very optimistic,” Ng said on a Commercial Radio programme.

Without Cheng’s liver, she could not have made it that long for the cadaveric liver
Dr Kelvin Ng Kwok-chai

“She is now completely ­conscious. She can make eye ­contact with you. But because she has been in hospital for a long time and her body was not well when she received the transplants, her recovery is relatively slower.” Earlier this month, Tang was fighting for her life with acute liver failure.

The condition of the 43 year old was so bad that her daughter, Michelle, urged the Hospital ­Authority to conduct tests to see if she could donate part of her liver.

But the 17 year old was still three months from turning 18 – the legal age to donate.

Then, Momo Cheng Hoi-yan, a 26-year-old clerk and someone who Tang did not know, came forward and donated two-thirds of her liver on April 13.

But a week later, Tang was back in the operating theatre for a second transplant as the new liver was not functioning well.

Despite Tang needing a ­second transplant, Ng said the life-saving efforts of Cheng were not wasted.

“Without [Cheng’s] liver, ­because Tang was in such a critical condition at the time, she could not have made it that long for the cadaveric liver,” Ng said.

Ng said Cheng deserved the respect of everyone because she gave away part of her liver to a stranger. The operation that Cheng went through came with a 0.5 per cent mortality rate.

Speaking on the same radio programme, Cheng said she ­simply did what she felt was right.

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“My mother also has some problems with her liver, and I can only donate my liver once in my life. But my mother told me to just do it and not think about her,” Cheng said.

“I don’t think I have done ­anything particularly noble. I just wanted to help.”

She said doctors had warned her that Tang’s body may not have been able to use her liver.

“But even if that happened after I had already gone through the operation, I would not have any regrets,” she said.