A family has received the best New Year’s gift as a single mother suffering from heart failure received an organ donation and regained consciousness on the first day of the year.
June Chan, 57, told her 30-year-old son Arthur Chan on New Year’s Day in a video call that “It feels so good to wake up!”
The woman had been suffering from inflammatory cardiomyopathy after a virus infection in her heart three years ago left her heart working at just 24 percent of its original capacity. Her condition worsened in April 2020, resulting in heart failure.
Arthur said on social media they were notified on December 30 that a heart was available. His mother was then transferred from Grantham Hospital to Queen Mary Hospital for the transplant after taking a Covid-19 test.
“The heart transplant surgery started at 9am on December 31 and was successfully completed at 4pm. The doctor checked the reaction of her hands and legs and found that there was no stroke or other problems after the surgery,” Arthur said.
“My mother regained consciousness on January 1 and told me in a video call that she was feeling a bit tired. Her blood pressure had also risen from 80 to a healthy 120,” he added.
Nurses taking care of Chan also said she is in a good condition and was transferred back to Grantham Hospital after the surgery, the son said, noting that his mother has to be isolated after the surgery so he cannot meet her yet.
He also expressed gratitude to those who prayed for his mother and showed concern, especially the family that had donated the organ of their deceased family member.
“Despite losing a family member and being far gone in grief, they still agreed to donate the organ to extend the life of others. No words can even come close to expressing our gratitude toward them,” Arthur Chan wrote.
He also called on Hongkongers to register as organ donors, which would give more patients a new chance at life.
Chan, who had previously worked in the beauty industry, lost her husband some 10 years ago and raised her son on her own.
She recovered from heart failure three years ago, but suffered from a relapse in April. The situation worsened in early September.
Her doctor even told her that cardiotonic drugs no longer worked on her, which meant her time was limited unless she received a transplant.
In a handwritten letter after learning the news, Chan said she hopes to come back to the hospital as a volunteer after her recovery and provide patients in a similar situation with encouragement and care based on her experience.
According to 2019 government statistics, the number of heart donations has always fallen short of demand, with patients having to wait for 26 months on average before receiving a heart transplant.
There were 54 people waiting for a heart transplant in 2019 but only eight were donated, compared to 17 in 2018.
Hospital Authority statistics also show that over 2,500 people are waiting for organ donors.