The complex surgery - involving the donor, heart and liver transplant teams – would have to work like clockwork with the handover between each team seamless to make sure the recovery of the transplanted organs was not compromised.
"The main challenge was in getting the sequence right while doing a technically perfect surgical operation," says A/P Tan.
The team went over the entire process, checking protocols and planning for contingencies, without actually knowing when the surgery would take place. That would depend on when a donor becomes available.
Under the Singapore Human Organ Transplants Act (HOTA), all Singapore citizens and permanent residents who have not opted out of the programme can donate and receive organs for transplantation. Foreign patients are not eligible for organs donated under HOTA, but they can perform living donor transplants here in Singapore.
When the organs became available, the "race" - against time - began.
Both the organs would have to be recovered and transplanted into the recipient as quickly as possible to avoid complications setting in. The heart would have to be transplanted first as the organ had to be pumping blood in the recipient's body within four hours after it was recovered
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