Woman, whose daughter was not allowed to donate liver to her, dies in Hong Kong hospital

HONG KONG - A 43-year-old mother who underwent two separate liver transplants in April following a medical blunder, died on Saturday (Aug 26) morning, the South China Morning Post has learnt.

Tang Kwai Sze, a Hepatitis B sufferer, leaves behind her 17-year-old daughter who had wanted to donate part of her liver to help save her mother but was three months shy of the legal age.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she was saddened by the death of Tang and expressed deep condolences to her family members, especially the daughter whom she had admired.

"She has demonstrated her fortitude and calmness when her mother was ill, and has left me a strong impression," the Post quoted Lam as saying.

Lam also said that the government had conducted a public consultation on the minimum legal age of organ-donors.

Tang's daughter Michelle was three months away from turning 18 - the legal age to be a living donor - in April. It was understood that Michelle had been assessed by a clinical psychologist, who is not from the Hospital Authority, who found her to be mentally mature for a transplant, but said Michelle would still require clinical tests to go through any procedures.

"I'm still hoping for a miracle soon," the Post had cited Michelle, whose surname is unknown, as saying in April.

A stranger, Momo Cheng, 26, came to the rescue and donated two-thirds of her liver. But the new organ did not function well, and about a week later Tang had to undergo a second transplant for liver from a deceased patient.

Tang had been in intensive care unit since.

Tang had been battling her illness in hospital since she suffered an acute liver failure in January.

The liver failure was due to a lack of vigilance by two specialists at United Christian Hospital. They had prescribed Tang a high dose of steroids for a kidney complaint, but did not give her an anti-virus drug to prevent her from suffering potentially fatal side effects.

Tang was later transferred to Queen Mary Hospital, where she underwent the two liver transplants on April 13 and 20, the Post reported.

An investigative panel in July said that in addtion to a lack of vigilance by the two specialists, a heavy workload was also to blame for the blunder. As of July, the two doctors were still working at the United Christian Hospital.

Chief Executive Lam said on Saturday (Aug 26) that she has asked the Food and Health Bureau to explore ways in beefing up medical procedures at public hospitals, as the death of Tang should not be regarded as just one single incident, the Post reported.