Student donates liver to the primary school teacher he once hated
“She took her cane everywhere and used to discipline me quite a lot,” says the man who donated his liver to his teacher. A heart-warming story of liver donation in Singapore...
He never thought that one day he would donate 67% of his liver to a teacher he once hated in primary school.
“She took her cane everywhere and used to discipline me quite a lot,” says Malaysian medical graduate Jerome Chin of his teacher, Leong Fong Peng, who taught him from 2003-2004.
“I hated the teachers who hit me but after I left school, I started to appreciate those who paid attention to me,” says Jerome.
Today, 54-year-old Madam Leong is in dire need of help for her liver failure.
Heartwarming story of liver donation in Singapore
According to Give.Asia, Madam Leong was warded in hospital in Kuantan, Malaysia on July 11, 2018,and subsequently at University Malaya Medical Center for decompensated liver failure.
Her relatives who had offered to donate part of their liver, were found to be unsuitable. That was when ex-student Jerome volunteered.
Jerome had come to know about Leong’s medical condition in July from her daughter Krystal Teh, who was also his primary school friend. As fate would have it, his liver was found to be a match.
Jerome’s father was skeptical about him donating his liver, but he managed to convince him otherwise.
“I told him I studied this, I know what I’m doing, and it will be fine. I think me being in the medical field helped convince him,” Jerome tells The Star Online.
As per Malaysian law, the hospital was unable to perform surgery as the donor and recipient were unrelated. So, they came to Singapore for the liver transplant. Madam Leong has been warded in NUH since 31 Aug 2018.
“I’m not a hero…”
The liver transplant was carried out on 6 September 2018, and Jerome donated 67% of his liver.
He has recovered from a brief spell of jaundice after the surgery, and expects his liver to regrow fully in three months. But he insists that he is not a hero.
“I was just the right person at the right place at the right time, I have done what I could,” he tells The Star Online.
“I am grateful to Jerome Chin for willing to take time to visit my mum although he had been discharged. Even the medical staff was able to tell that my mom’s mood had improved significantly whenever Jerome Chin visited her,” says Krystal, Madam Leong’s daughter, to Give.Asia.
Meanwhile, there are still challenges ahead for Madam Leong.
Initially, she was recovering well. Her fever had subsided, the blood clot had gradually reduced, and her bilirubin level was dropping.
But in the latest update on Give.Asia on 25 September 2018, her daughter Krystal says that she has been re-admitted to the ICU.
“I am deeply sorry and saddened to say this but since yesterday, she has been coughing up blood, spiking a fever and her red blood cells have been falling ever since. Now she has been readmitted into ICU.”
She has been coughing blood, and blood has also been detected in her stool. The complications mean more tests and medical expenses.
“This also signifies a further increase in medical costs up to S$400,000 or RM 1,200,000”, writes Krystal.
Krystal hopes that everyone will continue to show support for her mother by spreading the word and collecting more funds.
To donate to Madam Leong’s cause, please click here. Let’s all try to help out in whatever little way we can.