Young woman donates liver to save father

Updated 2017-07-07 11:00:02 CGTN

While there is never any lack of paeans to parents who have made tremendous sacrifices for their parents, there is generally less selflessness going in the other direction.

Niu Xiao, a 30-year-old teacher in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, has become a poster girl for China's fledgling voluntary organ donation program after donating part of her liver to save her cancer-affected dad.

Since the practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners was outlawed in China in 2015, voluntary organ donation from civilians has become the only legitimate source for transplantations. While there are over 100,000 registered organ donors across the country, only 4,080 organ donations were completed in 2016, according to official data. This compares to more than 30,000 transplantations in the US in 2015.

Niu's father was diagnosed with liver cancer in April at the General Hospital of the People's Liberation Army (PLAGH) in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province.

"My family was really downcast on learning my father's condition," Niu said. "I did not hesitate for a moment when I was told that I could save my father's life with my own liver."

The eight-hour-surgery, which saw two-thirds of Niu's liver being transplanted to her father's body, was accomplished by over 20 medical staff on June 27. It was the first transplantation of any organ from a son or daughter to a parent in Hainan Province.

"I rarely see children donate organs to their parents, and what Niu did was a manifestation of dedication of those born in the 1980s to their families as well as society," Lu Shichun, director of hepatobiliary for the PLAGH group of hospitals, told Chinanews.com following the operation.

As of Wednesday, both the father and daughter were in a stable condition, said Ji Wenbin, doctor in charge of the hepatobiliary department at the Sanya PLAGH, adding that the transplantation will not affect the daughter's health after rehabilitation.

Holding her father's hand and tenderly exhorting him to take his medicine, Niu could hardly hold back her tears when visiting her father on Wednesday.

Her donation has garnered waves of appreciation since photos of that moment went viral.

"They bring us up and we keep them company into their old age," @yigechaojikudelikesheng said of the story and China's respect for filial piety on Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

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