Family seeks liver for breadwinner

Local | Jane Cheung 25 Apr 2019

A 32-year-old father, who slaved two jobs to support his family of three, is urgently in need of a liver transplant for his condition has taken a turn for the worse as he now requires intubation, his family said.

Lau Yan-shing, who is suffering from acute liver failure, was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital on Tuesday when doctors told his family he required an urgent liver transplant in 24 hours.

Lau's elder sister yesterday said that after a day at the hospital, doctors told the family that Lau can't breathe on his own and fell into a coma, which prompted them to insert breathing and digestive tubes for him.

Lau is married with a daughter in Primary Three. His wife was in tears as she told reporters outside the ward that her biggest hope is to take Lau home and have a nice meal with him.

"I'm very tired, very, very tired," she said.

His wife said Lau has entered the second phase of a hepatic coma and he appears to have "fallen asleep."

"But when we visited him, he woke up and said he wanted to get off the bed with a blank face. He also bumped his head on the side of the bed," she said as concern filled her voice.

During visiting hours yesterday afternoon, Lau's friends from secondary school went to see him and one of them said that Lau suddenly woke up and stared at them. However, he quickly became dazed and looked around.

Lau's elder sister and wife were both tested and deemed incompatible to donate their livers to Lau, which prompted them to call on the public on Tuesday in hopes of finding a suitable donor.

One of Lau's friends was also tested, but he is unable to donate his liver as he has an irregular heartbeat. The friend burst into tears after learning he could not donate his to save Lau.

After news of Lau's condition came to light on Tuesday, some citizens contacted the family and said they are willing to donate part of their liver.

But, Lau's elder sister said the hospital can only conduct tests on one person at a time.

"The hospital will only start testing the next candidate after knowing the previous one is not suitable to become a donor," she said. "We feel like it's very contradictory, as they said it's best to conduct a liver transplant in 24 hours.

"I feel like they're sticking to the regulations too much."

Lau's wife said that she was glad that there are citizens willing to donate their liver.

"I never thought there were so many kindhearted people in Hong Kong. I'm grateful," she said.

A suitable donor for Lau should have type A or O blood, a body mass index of 30 or below and be aged between 18 and 60.

They should also fulfill other requirements such as being free from hepatitis B and C or the HPV virus, and living without diabetes and high cholesterol.

Even if candidates meet all criteria, they will still have to undergo tests on the health of their liver and kidneys.

Lau's family said citizens willing to become a donor should speak with their families and obtain permission before going through with the decision.

Lau is the sole breadwinner of the family, who worked for over 12 hours every day as a driver in the day and at night as a chef at a restaurant he co-owned.

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