Hong Kong mother out of coma after second liver transplant, says doctor

Tang Kwai-sze (L) and daughter Michelle (R) at a family celebration. Photo: supplied

Tang Kwai-sze, the 43-year-old mother whose race to find a liver donor has been dominating Hong Kong news, is out of her coma after a second liver transplant yesterday, her doctor at Queen Mary Hospital said.

Professor Lo Chung-mau, the hospital’s head of surgery, said Tang’s operation appeared to have been more successful than her first, which took place on the 13th, exactly a week before. “She can open her eyes, she’s conscious, she can nod her head and move her fingers,” Lo told Ming Pao this morning.

Tang’s case made headlines earlier this month when her daughter, Michelle, was rejected as a live donor due to her being three months underage. After Michelle made a public plea for organ donors, 26-year-old Momo Cheng, a complete stranger to the family, stepped forward and gave Tang two-thirds of her liver.

Live donor Momo Cheng (L) and her mother (R) before surgery on April 13. Photo: Social media

Whilst Tang’s body didn’t appear to reject Cheng’s liver, surgeons said she would have to have another transplant as she wasn’t recovering quickly enough. Yesterday, the 43-year-old mother went under the knife for a second time and was given a whole liver from a recently deceased donor.

Cheng’s liver was no longer suitable to be transplanted into another patient, as it had lost too much blood, but the 26-year-old said in a press conference this morning that her donation was “not a waste”, as she had given Tang an extra week to live.

Dr. Lo echoed Cheng’s statement, saying, “The donation made by Ms. Cheng saved [Tang’s] life — without it there was an 80 to 90 percent chance that she would not make it.”

“I also believed [Cheng’s] generous act may have encouraged the family of the deceased patient to agree to the organ donation,” SCMP reports Lo as saying.

Cheng, who was discharged from hospital last night, has received widespread praise from the public. After giving Tang her liver, Cheng received HKD100,000 from an NGO, the Promoting Happiness Index Foundation, the entirety of which she donated to the Liver Transplant Patients’ Association.

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