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Four months on, couple still waiting for suitable liver donor

There was no elaborate reunion dinner this year for Ms Serene Koh and her husband Mr Jason Mah.  

Together with family members, they had a simple meal on Wednesday night (Feb 18) by Mr Mah's bedside in the hospital.

Despite the smiles, Mr Mah is still in pain as a result of his failing liver.

And every time Mr Mah complains of pain, his wife, Ms Serene Koh, would hold his hand to try and comfort him.

For that is all that she can do now.

“I will hold his hand and plead with him to bear the pain,” said the 28-year-old human resource assistant.

In November 2014, The New Paper reported that over 40 strangers had come forward to be a potential liver donor for the ailing Mr Mah, after they read a plea Ms Koh had posted on Facebook.

Unfortunately, no match was found from the pool, and the couple are still waiting for their prayers to be answered.

The pair married in December 2011. Just after their wedding, Mr Mah was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. 

“We were close to finding a donor January this year, but at the last moment, we were informed that the donor was not a suitable match for my husband,” she told The New Paper recently in an interview at Mr Mah's bedside at the National University Hospital.

“Since then my husband's condition has become worse,” she added.

Mr Mah was barely able to say anything and it was clear that the 35-year-old former bartender was in a considerable amount of pain. 


TNP Photo: Azim Azman

When TNP met Ms Koh earlier this month, she had rushed from work to be by her husband's bedside.

“I admit that my performance at work has been affected by all of this but I am very lucky to have very understanding colleagues,” she said.

“If they did not help me out, I really don't know how I could have coped,” she said.

According to Ms Koh, her husband has been warded in hospital since Jan 19 this year.

He has been receiving treatment for his liver and his kidneys, said Ms Koh.

“I was told by the doctors that if he does not receive a liver donation soon, he would have to go through kidney dialysis,” she said. 

Though the search has been fruitless so far, Ms Koh said she is not giving up hope on finding a suitable donor. 

“He used to be such a happy-go-lucky person, it pains me to see him suffer so much both emotionally and physically,” she said.

“I just hope that he can find a donor soon, I cannot think of what might happen if he doesn't.”

WANT TO HELP?

If your blood type is B or O, please call Ms Serene Koh at 8588-1530. 


Liver transplants: What you need to know

In 2014, there were 60 patients on the waiting list for a liver transplant.

This is an increase from 51 patients in 2013.

This is according to statistics on Live On, a website set up by the Ministry of Health (MOH) as part of its efforts to educate Singaporeans about the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA).

First enacted in 1987, HOTA allows for the kidneys of Singaporeans and Permanent Residents to be donated for a transplant in event of an accidental death.

It now covers the donation of other organs such as the liver, heart and corneas.


Related story: Wife's plea for liver donor: 40 strangers offer to help but no match found yet 

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