Leung Chi-ming finally got the liver he needed - almost a decade and four tries after his first attempt. Denied a transplant at the last minute eight years ago because of 'limited resources', he finally received the life-saving organ at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam on July 14 and is recovering well. During his long ordeal with severe cirrhosis, the 46-year-old has seen a series of blunders in liver transplant services, one of which saw a donated liver go to waste. But last month Leung was told a compatible liver was again available - and this time the surgery went ahead. 'I dared not feel too happy when the nurse called me on the night of July 13 saying a liver was ready for me,' he said after the operation. 'I worried that it could have been another false hope for me.' Twice when Leung was told a liver had become available, the liver turned out to be unsuitable. Then, in September 2002, a transplant was scheduled at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin, but the hospital called it off at the last minute citing 'limited resources'. Instead, the liver went to a patient at Queen Mary Hospital. Leung considered suing over that disappointment, but the head of the University of Hong Kong liver transplant team, Professor Lo Chung-mau, said it was a blessing in disguise because doctors did not know at the time that Leung's main blood vessels were badly blocked. 'If the operation was not cancelled, Leung would not have survived the operation with such a serious problem,' the surgeon, who led last month's nine-hour operation, said. Leung, discharged on Wednesday, said earlier from his hospital bed he felt 'so relieved and pleased' when he woke after the transplant. 'It was finally done after all these years of waiting and waiting.' He said the blockages in his blood vessels had increased the risk of the surgery. 'I am so grateful to the liver transplant team who took good care of me for all these years,' he said. On the day of the aborted operation - September 10, 2002 - Leung was admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital at 6pm. About an hour later hospital management decided to cancel the operation, but Leung was not told until about 10pm. He filed a complaint to the Ombudsman, who in 2004 criticised the hospital and Hospital Authority for maladministration in giving 'false hope' to Leung. The case came just a few months after a public outcry over the waste of a donor liver at a time when more than 100 patients were waiting for life-saving transplants. The liver went unused on June 16, 2002, because of a quota on liver transplants set by the Chinese University transplant team at Prince of Wales Hospital. The city's then health chief, Dr Yeoh Eng-kiong, ordered the quota system to be scrapped, saying it was unacceptable. The queue for the two liver transplant centres was later merged, with the Prince of Wales centre shut down. The University of Hong Kong centre at Queen Mary Hospital is now the city's only liver transplant service. After his transplant was aborted in 2002, Leung pressed the Hospital Authority to be given priority but it turned down the request, saying all patients had to queue for transplants according to the urgency of their cases. Leung said he was so angry and depressed about losing the transplant that he considered spending his savings on a lawsuit against the authority. 'But as time went by, I accepted that it was my fate,' he said. 'I didn't have much money and energy to go for legal action. I then unwillingly accepted the reality and kept waiting for another chance.' The father of two had to give up his job as an engineering technician because of his ill health, and has been living on welfare payouts. 'What I want now is to find a job after my recovery. I am so grateful to the organ donor, who gave me a new life.' Lo said his team was right to refuse to let Leung jump the transplant queue. 'Each donated liver means a life to all the 100 patients on the queue,' he said. 'We cannot give out a liver just to correct a mistake ... each liver should be given out purely based on a patient's medical urgency. 'Remember, when we give out one liver to a person, another person will miss a chance for survival.'