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Families hold key to organs for transplant
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Liver transplants using organs donated by the patient's family members is the key to saving patients' lives and solving the organ shortage, experts from Ruijin Hopsital said yesterday.

The Ministry of Health is to discuss next week how to regulate the process as an increasing number of domestic hospitals start to get involved.

Ruijin Hospital carried out the nation's first liver transplant in 1977 and earlier this week transplanted parts of liver from the mother and father into a 15-year-old local girl. All are in a stable condition.

Doctor Chen Yongjun (center) and parents Shi Zhouming and Yan Weifang visit Shi Yi yesterday after her liver transplant operation.

"Shi Yi hasn't shown serious rejection, and she is expected to leave hospital in three weeks," said Shen Baiyong, vice director of Ruijin's organ transplant center. "Her parents will be discharged in one or two days."

Doctors said Shi Yi's condition could have become critical due to liver failure if she hadn't had the transplant.

Her parents have received donations from Shanghai Charity Foundation and her teachers and schoolmates to help pay for her treatment and a pharmaceutical company has provided anti-rejection medication.

Organ transplants between family members are an effective way to control organ rejection and circumvent shortages.

In Japan and South Korea, 90 percent of liver transplants are between family members. In Hong Kong it is 60 percent.

On the Chinese mainland, there are 3,000 liver transplants every year but only 400 to 500 so far between family members.

(Shanghai Daily December 21, 2007)

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