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Vietnam doctors save man by transplanting brain-dead woman’s liver into him

Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 22:48 GMT+7
Vietnam doctors save man by transplanting brain-dead woman’s liver into him
Doctors take care of H.V.L., a 37-year-old man, after a liver transplant at the University Medical Center Ho Chi Minh City, May 19, 2020, in this photo supplied by the hospital.

Doctors in Vietnam have just managed to transplant a liver donated by a brain-dead woman into a man, the second organ transplantation in the Southeast Asian country in less than a week.

The liver transplant started to be done at the University Medical Center Ho Chi Minh City late Monday and finished early Tuesday, the hospital said Wednesday.

The recipient is H.V.L., a 37-year-old man who lives in the city and has been treated for liver fibrosis at the medical center.

The hospital said that it had been informed by the Vietnam National Coordinating Center for Human Organ Transplantation (VNHOT) and Viet Duc University Hospital in Hanoi of a brain-dead liver donor on Monday. 

The donor from the capital had succumbed to a fatal disease and was confirmed to have brain death.

Her liver proved to be suitable for L., doctors found, believing that he would have a good prognosis with an organ transplant.

Doctors began harvesting the liver from the brain-dead woman at 7:00 pm on Monday.

The liver was airlifted from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City on board a Vietnam Airlines flight at 8:00 pm.

The plane arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in the southern city past 10:00 pm.

An ambulance was deployed to take the organ to the University Medical Center Ho Chi Minh City within ten minutes, with support from local traffice police officers.

The liver transplantation began the same night and doctors managed to complete it at 5:30 am on Tuesday.

L. is in stable health, with the liver functioning well in his body, the hospital said. The patient is being monitored at the institution.

A funeral for the donor was organized in Hanoi Wednesday afternoon.

She was a 62-year-old retired teacher, who an acquaintance said had done a lot of charity work to help students in the capital city when she was alive.

She decided to donate her liver before passing away, the VNHOT said, adding that she was the oldest organ donor in Vietnam.

The woman had fought her disease for a month at Viet Duc University Hospital but she lost the battle eventually.

“We don’t often accept organs from donors of over 60 years of age, except for their cornea,” a VNHOT representative told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

“But the retired teacher’s liver could meet transplantation criteria.”

The liver transplant has been the second organ transplantation in Vietnam in the past week.

A heart was transplanted into a patient at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City on May 13.

The heart had been transported from Hanoi by air the same day.

For the last five years, there have been fifty flights delivering donated organs between Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and the central city of Hue, according to data obtained by Tuoi Tre.

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