Divorcee remarries her ex to save him

Updated: 2012-11-03 08:13

By Zheng Jinran (China Daily)

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A divorcee who remarried her ex-husband to donate part of her liver to save his life can leave the hospital in a week after a successful 15-hour operation in Beijing on Wednesday.

Su Dan, 32, will be able to welcome her husband, Tian Xinbing, 39, home in four months.

Divorcee remarries her ex to save him

Su Dan (left) and Tian Xinbing recover in the ICU of a hospital in Beijing on Friday after a liver transplant. Su remarried her ex-husband Tian and donated part of her liver to save his life. Feng Yongbin / China Daily 

Shi Bingyi, director of the organ transplant institute at the 309th Hospital of Chinese People's Liberation Army, where the operation was performed, said the main aim now is to protect the couple from infection and to prevent chronic rejection in the husband in the longer term.

"The husband will need to take medication for the rest of his life, but apart from that, the couple will be the same as other healthy people," he said, adding that Su's liver will regain full size in six months.

On Friday, Su was able to walk around the intensive care unit, but her husband will have to stay in bed for another week, the doctor said.

Su, from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, and her husband, from Henan province, married in 2002 and opened a small computer company in Beijing in 2004.

In July, they divorced hurriedly, but still lived together with their 6-year-old daughter.

Su's mother, Chen Lijuan, said: "They had a big quarrel over management of their company in July and then made a rush decision to get a divorce."

Two months later, Tian was diagnosed with liver cancer and with late-stage liver cirrhosis. A transplant was urgently needed, but more than 10 patients were ahead of Tian in the wait for livers at the hospital.

Under China's laws and regulations on organ transplants, living donors are restricted to blood relatives or spouses.

To save Tian, Su decided to donate after learning the couple were a match. They remarried in August.

But she failed to qualify as a donor at the initial investigation by the ethics review committee of the hospital on Aug 31, with committee members feeling she wanted to donate for financial reasons.

But Shi Bingyi, the doctor in charge of the transplant, said Su said she still loves her husband, and it was decided to give her a second opportunity to donate.

Tian's elder sister, who is not willing to disclose her name, said: "It's her love that saved my brother's life," adding that Tian was born to a rural family with six siblings.

"We wanted to make the donation, but my brother-in-law persuaded us not to, saying we have family to support," she said. "We all appreciate her sacrifice."

Yang Chun, a student nurse at the hospital, said she was moved by Su's love and sacrifice. "I would feel so happy if my husband did the same to me if I was in a similar situation," she said.

Shi Qiyin, a migrant worker visiting an injured friend at the hospital, said he supported Su and admired her greatly. "But I don't know whether I could do it," Shi added.

Hou Liqiang contributed to this story.