Singapore

Deputy Speaker Charles Chong recovering after liver transplant

Punggol East MP and Deputy Speaker Charles Chong went for a liver transplant earlier this month, with his younger son, Glenn, as the donor.

The People's Action Party announced earlier this month that the veteran MP, who defeated former incumbent Lee Li Lian of the Workers' Party at last year's general election, was taking eight weeks of medical leave following a "planned medical procedure".

In an e-mail interview with The Straits Times yesterday, Mr Chong, 63, said he was diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis three years ago following a routine medical check-up.

Over the course of monitoring his condition, his doctors found several small lesions on his liver.

While there was no immediate need for surgery as his liver was still functioning well, doctors advised him in October this year that a liver transplant was best for the long haul.

"We decided to do it now while I am still in overall good health, rather than wait until things get worse," he said.

Mr Chong said his younger son, Glenn, 30, was "a good match and is in excellent health, and he very generously agreed to donate part of his liver to me".

The surgery took place on Dec 1, and his son was discharged the next day. The older Mr Chong was discharged two weeks later.

For now, Mr Chong has been told to get plenty of rest and is on immunosuppressants so that his body does not reject the new liver.

He will also have to spend the festive period doing follow-up blood and liver function tests, which he said he does not mind "as that takes the monotony out of being at home all the time".

He added that the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MPs, particularly Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, have stepped up to help look after his single-member constituency in the meantime.

- THE STRAITS TIMES

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