SINGAPORE – Eddie Tan was facing a critical health situation because his liver was failing, but a successful public appeal initiated by his son gave him a new life.
The 59-year-old former project manager received the help of a complete stranger just eight days after his 24-year-old son, Leslie, posted the appeal on Facebook asking for liver donors to help his father.
On May 30, Tan received liver transplantation after a grueling eight-hour operation at the National University Hospital (NUH) National Organ Transplant Center (NUCOT).
His savior was compatriot Lim Hanwei, 36, director of financial services at AXA Insurance, who underwent a five-and-a-half hour operation.
The spirit of selfless self-giving runs in the Lim family. Seven years earlier, Lim's younger brother, now 34, had also donated his kidney to a complete stranger in the same hospital.
<p class = "canvas-atomo canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "When approached for an interview, Lim refused to speak to Yahoo News Singapore as it is currently recovering from the operation. When he was approached for an interview, Lim refused to speak to him. Yahoo News Singapore as it is currently recovering from the operation.
<p class = "canvas-atomo canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Leslie said she was surprised and humiliated not only by the present of Lim's life, but also the number of strangers who volunteered to donate their livers. Over 50 people volunteered to be donors after reading about the detailed father's situation in a & nbsp;Facebook post& nbsp; loaded on May 22, said the end-of-year student at Nanyang Technological University. "Leslie said that she was surprised and humbled not only by Lim's present life but also by the number of strangers they offered. More than 50 people volunteered to be a donor after reading about their situation. father detailed in a Facebook post that was published on May 22, said the senior student of Nanyang Technological University.
Skepticism about the appeal of social media
Leslie admitted that he had initial doubts about publishing the appeal on social media. "I was not sure about finding some donor this way," he said.
He also thought to himself, "How likely is it that someone would go so far as to be a complete stranger?"
He posted the public appeal as a last resort, as Tan's liver deteriorated dramatically due to worsening chronic hepatitis B infection. A donor had to be found within a week of posting to ensure the best chance of survival of Tan.
The appalling situation was indicated by Leslie's updates to her post. On the condition of his father, he wrote: "10 liters of water were trapped inside the body cavity. He can not eat, can not drink, can not sleep, and is in perpetual distress and pain. "
Associate Professor Alfred Kow, a senior liver transplant consultant at NUCOT who was part of a team that operated with the donor, said the chance of finding a suitable donor is one in three.
"This estimate is very dependent on blood group pairing, body weight, liver size, liver quality – for example, if the potential donor has fatty liver – and anatomical structures of the liver," he added.
All potential donors have to undergo a series of blood tests and tests to ensure they are physically healthy and not harmed by the act of giving. They must attend a mandatory counseling session and be evaluated by an independent transplant ethics committee who will decide if a transplant can occur.
Before the successful appeal, the Tans knew they were running out of time, as both immediate and extended family members, including Leslie and her older sister, shared different blood types of their father: A + and AB + for Tan's O +.
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Oppressed by public response
"Helpless, lost, but determined to do everything in their power," Leslie and her family began sending messages to all their contacts. He turned to Facebook when friends suggested using the power of social media to spread the word.
Despite distractions, such as offers to buy "deer stem cells with special rejuvenating properties," or comments from Internet users who claimed their story was "false news," their efforts to spread the appeal in social media have worked.
When the news spread, the online and traditional media resumed its history. His family began to receive responses from people "who volunteered to be donors."
"This noble and generous spirit has been a pillar of support that has helped our family through this difficult time," Leslie said.
Path to recovery
His father is now slowly recovering and adjusting to his new medication regimen. Tan, who was 85 kg when he was admitted to the hospital on May 7, had lost 15 kg during his 30-day stay.
He is now on immunosuppressants – medicines that restrict the immune system – to prevent rejection of the newly transplanted liver, and can only consume fully cooked foods without bacteria, Leslie added.
For now, edible as boiled eggs are "off the menu", and your father will have to go for weekly exams at NUCOT. "If the outlook is good, then the frequency of the check-up would decrease to monthly or even semi-annually," Leslie said.
In live donor transplants, between 40% and 60% of donor liver is removed. The liver would regenerate almost immediately. The donor and recipient livers will regenerate almost completely within six to eight weeks and continue to grow for the first year after surgery.
The experience inspired Leslie to share her story and give other people facing similar situations that they hope to live.
"I hope that through our experience, we can help more people understand the organ donation process and appreciate the difference that such a generous act can bring to people's lives," he said.
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