Queen Mary Hospital has successfully performed the world's first live liver transplant involving simultaneous operations on a father and two of his daughters. Doctors said this new way of conducting such operations had enabled them to form a whole liver with two donated parts from the daughters before transplanting it into the body of the patient, who had suffered acute liver failure. The recipient was 59-year-old Cheng Chi-ming, a hepatitis B carrier. He was admitted to Kiang Wu Hospital in his hometown of Macau on July 11 and then transferred to Queen Mary in Pok Fu Lam. He was already in the final stage of a coma before the surgery was undertaken and could have died if the operating team was unable to find a suitable liver within a week, doctors said. The security guard's three daughters were evaluated for possible liver donations. The second and third, nicknamed Lam Lam, 23, and Kei Kei, 22, were found to be suitable donors with a matching blood type. But their livers were too small for their father, so the operation team decided to use two-thirds of Kei Kei's liver and one-third of Lam Lam's to form a bigger one. If one donor is enough, we will absolutely choose that way DR LO CHUNG-MAU Dr Lo Chung-mau, a member of the team, noted that Lam Lam had a minor fatty liver problem, which was why they took less from her. The team then joined the left and right halves to form a whole liver before transplanting it to Cheng. The two procedures took only 55 minutes, the doctors said. Lo said if the team had conducted the operation in the traditional way - transplanting the left and right halves into Cheng's body separately - the procedures would have taken twice as long and been twice as dangerous, which would have led to a longer recovery time. "Dual-liver transplant is an ethical problem in the medical world and we did not make the decision easily because it involved three people's lives," said Lo. "If one donor is enough, we will absolutely choose that way. Most ideally, if enough livers are donated by the deceased, we don't have to bother any healthy people." The hospital has performed 1,182 liver transplant operations since 1991. Only 44 per cent involved livers donated by those who had died. Lo said the situation was "not ideal" and around 90 per cent of patients with acute liver failure died before a suitable liver was found. "The rate of people willing to donate their livers after death is relatively low because Asian people tend to be traditional and want to keep their bodies complete," said Dr Albert Chan Chi-yan, a team member. "We want to call on more people to volunteer their livers after they die."