Monday, November 30, 2015   

Dream trip on for transplant man

Candy Chan

Monday, January 28, 2013

Former lorry driver Kwok Shu-ming is planning the trip of a lifetime.

Kwok, 58, underwent a lung transplant in August and has recovered so well that a dream holiday to Costa Rica is in the works.

Before the transplant, his life revolved around an oxygen concentrator to which he was attached five hours a day.

"The transplant gave me another chance to live," he said. "My family members didn't leave me when I was sick and being a burden to them. I really have to thank them."

Kwok and three other people received organs from one donor - a pair of kidneys, a liver and corneas, as well as Kwok's new lungs.


The four were among organ recipients attending an event yesterday at Queen Mary Hospital for the joy of "rebirth." Kwok said: "Those were tough times for the family to lose their loved ones, but their decision at that critical moment had saved four people's live altogether. We can now lead normal lives."

He said the thought of going on a trip to the Central American nation with his wife and two children was just a dream, but this summer it will become a reality for them.

"The transplant gave me hope. There were many things which I hadn't thought I could do after getting lung disease, such as going on a trip. Now this is one of the things I plan to do."

He had been a heavy smoker for 40 years when doctors told him he had end-stage lung failure in 2009. His lung functions were not more than 10 percent. He was put on the transplant waiting list but knew the chances were not good.

"I had thoughts of ending my life. I stood by the window and looked down to the street below one day. I just didn't want to be a helpless burden to my beloved family," said Kwok, adding that he stopped himself only when his daughter called his name.

However, he was lucky and was among three people who received lungs last year, the highest number on record. Previously one or two lung transplants were done in a year. As of the end of last year, 15 people were waiting for lungs.

Wong Chi-fong, consultant of respiratory medicine at the Grantham Hospital, said unlike other organ transplants, a lung transplant is restricted by the organ's size and the donor's age and it is difficult for patients to find a match.

"Many could not find a match and passed away while waiting," said Wong, who called for the public to sign up for organ donation.

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