A patient with liver failure is in critical condition from an infection after his liver transplant operation was interrupted when the donor was posthumously found to have had cancer.

The patient, Stephen Lee, was hospitalised earlier this year with liver failure and cirrhosis, reported Apple Daily. He was transferred from the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital to Queen Mary Hospital when his condition worsened in August.

liver patient
The patient (right) pictured with his wife.

The couple was overjoyed when they were notified last Tuesday by the hospital that there was a suitable liver. However, the operation was stopped midway after the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin discovered that the organ donor had a cancerous mass in her kidney and deemed her liver unfit for transplant. Lee’s condition took a turn for the worse after an infection arose from having his abdomen opened in preparation for the transplant.

Mrs Lee said that she was devastated when she received the news last week. The family has no plans for holding the hospital accountable and is appealing to those with O-type blood to donate their liver. “The hospital is certainly responsible, but right now I just want my husband to recover,” Mrs Lee told Oriental Daily.

queen mary hospital
Queen Mary Hospital.

Last week, two patients at the Prince of Wales Hospital received heart and lung donations from the same deceased stroke patient who was posthumously found to have cancer. By the time the cancer was discovered, the transplants were already in progress. But after assessments, it was decided that the liver and the kidney should not be used.

In the same week, a tuberculosis patient had a quarter of his lung mistakenly removed after the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital misdiagnosed him with lung cancer.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.