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Truck driver's organs save five lives in Wuhan

By ZHOU LIHUA and HOU LIQIANG  (China Daily)

07:52, April 25, 2013

A family's decision to donate the organs of a dead loved one to patients on the transplant list has saved five lives in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, transplantations of a heart, two kidneys and a liver, were successfully carried out at Wuhan Union Hospital and Tongji Hospital.

The liver had been divided in two and transplanted to two patients.

The organs were harvested from the body of Chen Gang, a truck driver who had been declared brain dead no more than 100 minutes before the first operation.

Chen was driving when he suddenly felt discomfort and pulled over. He began breathing heavily and shortly after fainted.

He was taken to Wuhan Iron and Steel Hospital in critical condition and then transferred to Tongji Hospital, the only hospital in Hubei allowed to harvest donated organs. There doctors tried to save him but failed.

Chen's wife, Qi Dan, made the decision to donate his organs after he was declared brain dead.

Chutian Metropolis Daily reported that Chen wanted to donate his organs, and Qi's decision was supported by their daughter and Chen's parents.

"People around me were surprised by the decision, but I know this was his wish. He told me he would like to be an organ donor, but I never thought it would happen so soon," Qi was quoted as saying.

Chen's mother said: "He was a warm-hearted man. He would be pleased with this decision."

Their daughter said after learning the heart transplant was successful, "My dad has died, but his heart is still beating."

Chen Zhishui, deputy director of Tongji Hospital's Organ Transplant Research Institute, told China Daily on Wednesday that the four recipients' vital signs are stable and all are recovering well.

"The organs were allocated according to three criteria: medical urgency, waiting time and medical compatibility," he said.

Chen Xiaoping, director of the institute said: "A large number of patients are waiting for liver transplants, and there are very few donors. To save one more life, we had no choice but use an innovative technique. This is the first time in Central China a divided liver transplant has been used."

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