Sons draw straws for chance to donate liver for ill father
The life of a Taiwanese man suffering liver cancer was saved after undergoing a living donor transplant procedure replacing his liver with the one donated from his son, who was selected from a pool of three other sons by drawing lots.
Wu Chen-hsiang, a 63-year-old Taichung native, was diagnosed with liver cancer and severe cirrhosis last May and thus needed a liver transplant. Upon learning the news, all of his sons expressed a wish to donate parts of their livers to save their father’s lives.
“We only have one father. Who would donate a liver if we don’t?” the sons said.
Wu’s second son was later found not qualified to be a donor due to fatty liver disease. The third son was chosen as the donor after the draw was held.
After the son’s blood and tissue types were confirmed compatible with his father, doctors performed the transplant surgery April 2 at China Medical University Hospital in the central city of Taichung.
It took 12 hours to transplant two thirds of the son’s healthy liver to replace his father’s ailing liver.
Jeng Long-bin, the main physician performing the surgery, said that a new liver was the best treatment for Wu. The doctor was said to be touched by the love shown by Wu’s sons.
To perform a liver transplant, doctors will consider the donor’s health condition and choose the liver that best fits the recipient, Jeng said.
“I only have one father. There are no second thoughts (on donating my liver to my father),” the son, who donated parts of his liver, was quoted as saying by a Thursday media report in the Chinese language Liberty Times.
“I can hardly bear to see my son do this for me,” said Wu, while tears rolled down his cheek, according to the report.
Wu is a father of five children: four sons and one daughter. The family shares a close bond.
“They are all good children. They might have learned from my wife, who put in a lot of effort to care for my mom,” Wu said. “I am really lucky.”
As the son who donated the liver will need to rest for many weeks to recover, his brothers will help look after his scooter repair shop and prepare nutritious meals for him and their father, the report said.
According to Jeng, the portion of the donor’s liver given to the recipient will grow back to nearly its full size in six months.
Wu Chen-hsiang and his son pose after a successful liver transplant operation in Taichung, yesterday. After Wu developed liver cancer, all four of his sons offered to donate parts of their livers. The sons drew straws, with the second youngest son receiving the honor, drawing acclaim from the nursing staff.