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Shanghai doctors give girl liver from parents
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Doctors here have successfully carried out a liver transplant on a 15-year-old girl, using pieces of the organ from each of her natural parents.

The girl, Shi Yi, is currently in a stable condition after undergoing the operation on December 12, doctors said.

Her mother and natural father are also recovering following surgery.

Carried out by surgeons at the Shanghai Ruijin Hospital, the operation took 17 hours and included three simultaneously performed procedures on the girl and her parents.

It is the city's first successful transplant from two living donors.

Li Hongwei, president of the hospital, said yesterday the dual graft operation is appropriate for only a small number of patients.

"Because Shi Yi weighed 95 kg when she came into the hospital, the larger, dual graft transplant was urgently required. The only hope was to use parts of her parents' livers," Li said.

Shi's natural parents divorced five years ago.

Since then, the girl has lived with her mother and stepfather, Qiu Jinsheng. When Shi was diagnosed with Wilson's Disease, a genetic disorder, Qiu offered his liver for the transplant, but he was deemed incompatible because doctors said he had a fatty liver.

"As her stepfather, I felt regret that I was unable to share my responsibility for Shi Yi's illness," Qiu said yesterday.

Shi's mother convinced the girl's natural father, Shi Zhouming, to help with the transplant.

"Whatever it costs, I'll save my daughter. I'm her father, I'll help her," Shi Zhouming said.

Following medical tests, Shi's natural parents qualified as liver donors.

"Donors have to undergo major abdominal surgery to remove the parts of the liver that will form the graft," Li said.

"Keeping them safe is the most important thing."

Shen Boyong, a doctor at Ruijin Hospital, said: "Due to the risks involved with the operation, dual graft liver transplants require the most advanced surgery techniques in the world. So far, only five countries have been capable of doing them."

Two similar operations have been carried out in China.

"After six to 12 months, both the donated pieces of liver in Shi and the remaining parts in the donors will grow back to normal size, allowing all three to resume their lives as healthy people," Shen said.

(China Daily December 21, 2007)

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