SCMP Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Organ donation by family earns judge's praise


A judge yesterday praised the family of a manslaughter victim after they donated his organs "in the midst of their grief".
Madam Justice Clare-Marie Beeson delivered the tribute as she jailed Danny Tsui Kam-wa, 36, and Ho Chi-hang, 20, for eight years after a Court of First Instance jury last month found them guilty of manslaughter.
She said that even though 32-year-old Hui Sze-pui's life had been cut short on September 16 last year, several people would benefit from the organ donations.
In extending her thanks to the family, Madam Justice Beeson said organ donations were "not as common in Hong Kong as they could be". She said: "I suggest to young people that they should get a donor card."
Hui's family gave permission for his liver, gall bladder, both kidneys, a portion of his spleen and his pancreas to be donated.
A family spokesman said the decision was made after another family member's organs were donated upon their death. "They wanted the organs to help others," he said.
Outside court, prosecutor Robert Forrest said he "whole-heartedly endorsed" the judge's comments about organ donation. "It's unusual for a judge to say that and I thought it was a very refreshing observation," he said.
Hospital Authority executive manager (professional services) Dr Beatrice Cheng, who oversees Hong Kong's organ transplants and services, welcomed the judge's comments saying "much more needs to be done". She said the greatest need was for kidneys, with 1,000 patients on dialysis awaiting a suitable organ.
Only about 40 become available each year, with 18 being donated up to June this year. Donated kidneys' scarcity put pressure on patients' relatives to donate.
She said the longest a person had had to wait was more than 22 years. "Many die before they have a chance to get kidneys."
One hundred people were also waiting for livers, with about 15 donated each year. Nine had been given so far this year.
Statistics for the 20 people awaiting a lung transplant were even worse. Often there is only one donation each year. Some years there are no donors.
Dr Cheng urged people to discuss organ donation with their families or to carry a donor card.
The traditional Chinese desire to keep the body intact was the main reason for refusing to donate, Dr Cheng said.
The Court of First Instance had heard that the fight that led to Hui's death began after Tsui threw a dice cup in the face of Hui's girlfriend at the Energy Karaoke Bar in Mongkok.
Madam Justice Beeson said Tsui had been drunk. During the fight, Hui collapsed in the hallway. He died two days later after a rupture in an artery flooded his brain with blood.
Organ donor cards can be downloaded from: .