Date
23 October 2017
Ma Cheuk-long (inset, left), a student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is critically ill, prompting his girlfriend (seen in photo) and others to launch appeals for organ donation help. Photos: Facebook, HKEJ
Ma Cheuk-long (inset, left), a student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is critically ill, prompting his girlfriend (seen in photo) and others to launch appeals for organ donation help. Photos: Facebook, HKEJ

Appeals launched for 20-year-old who needs heart transplant

A 20-year-old university student in Hong Kong is in urgent need of a heart transplant operation to ensure his survival, according to his parents, friends and teachers. 

Ma Cheuk-long (馬倬朗), a year-two student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, was diagnosed with acute myocarditis a month ago.

He is currently in an intensive care unit at Queen Mary Hospital, relying on a ventricular assist device for his heart functions.

If Ma has to recover and lead a normal life again, he needs a heart transplant procedure.

Distressed by his condition, the student’s family and friends have launched an appeal for organ donation, using social media to spread the message.

The organ donation must be from a person with A+ blood type, Ma’s girlfriend Leung Yan-yin wrote in a Facebook post.

Anyone offering help on potential organ donation can contact Queen Mary Hospital at 2255 3838.

Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, vice chancellor of CUHK, also issued a statement calling on the public to help Ma.

“Cheuk-long is a hard-working student and a good, kind person. We all feel distressed to see him having to battle such a serious illness at his young age,” Sung said, adding that he hopes people will pass the word so that the young man can receive an organ donation and regain his health.

Ma was sent to Kwong Wah Hospital on April 21 after he had sudden fever and stomach ache.

His situation became worse with irregular heartbeat and liver and kidney failure five days later.

Diagnosed with myocarditis leading to end-stage heart failure, he was transferred to the Queen Mary Hospital on June 3.

He is now the first patient on heart transplant waiting list.

Ma’s father told reporters this week that his son studied hard and always stayed positive.

The student got top scores in the Chinese and English subjects at the Hong Kong DSE Examination, and he likes to play piano and write songs, the father said.

Ma is suffering from weight-loss and cannot move on bed, according to the father.

The young man’s cardiopulmonary function is only about 10 percent of that of a normal person, said Cally Ho, a consultant at the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Queen Mary hospital.

Going by past cases, patients who rely on device to keep their heart functions can only live about 3 to 6 months, and that too only if they don’t suffer strokes or other infections in the meantime.

The post written by Ma’s girlfriend has been shared widely on Facebook.

Leung said she can’t accept the possibility that Ma may fade away from her life, given that she had celebrated his birthday not too long ago.

“If you may, please offer me a chance to walk with him hand in hand again, to watch a movie, to taste his handmade cheesecake, to feel the warmth of his hug, to hear him calling my name. If you may, please allow him a healthy heartbeat again,” Leung wrote in her touching appeal for help.

[Organ Donation] 

Chloe Chow contributed to this article.

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