Heart patient prepares to cook up a storm

HONGKONG'S first heart transplant patient will go home tomorrow and will celebrate by cooking a big meal for his family for the first time.

The 50-year-old civil servant named Chiu said he discovered cooking during his six-week stay at Grantham Hospital, where he received the life-saving transplant.

''I had nothing to do but a little exercise and watch Mrs Fong Family Plaza on TV every day,'' he said.

He has at least four of Mrs Lisa Fong's recipes and is ready to whip up a few duck tongues and a Lunar New Year pudding.

''I am so excited that I am going home,'' Mr Chiu said during a stroll outside his hospital ward yesterday.

''I want to breathe the fresh air.'' Mr Chiu said he was ready to go back to work, adding that his senior section heads had been to visit him.

But his doctors said he would have to wait at least six months to see if he could work again.

''I don't think the break will have any bad impact on my job,'' Mr Chiu said.

''I am really confident that I can do better as my colleagues have offered me their support.

''My swollen feet, frequent coughing and respiratory problems are gone.'' Mr Chiu plans to visit the family of the donor of his new heart, 20-year-old Mr Ng Kin-fai, who died after a traffic accident.

He also hopes hospitals can set up a support group for organ transplant patients similar to that for AIDS patients.

''I was very depressed during the first few days after the operation,'' he said.

''I did not know what was going to happen.'' A support group could provide a chance for patients and their families to share their feelings and experiences.

Transplant recipient co-ordinator, senior nursing officer Ms Lilian To Oi-fun, said Mr Chiu - her only client so far - was extremely healthy and could even dance well.

His doctor, Dr Tse Tak-ming, said: ''His condition is very satisfactory and he has recovered from his kidney problems. There is no sign of rejection and infection, the worst enemy for transplant patients.''