Madam Ang Kim Choo is deeply grateful to the amended Human Organ Transplant Act (Hota).

Without it, she doubts if she would be alive today.

Madam Ang, 57, told the New Paper in an interview. “I had a heart condition for 10 years. I had a weak heart and I was on medication. But towards the ninth and 10th years of my illness, I felt worse.”

By then, no amount of medication could help her.

She was constantly breathless and tired. She could not eat or sleep. Walking for just five minutes would make her breathless.

“I felt life was getting more and more difficult,” said the mother of four.

She prayed hard, and she was put on the transplant list in September 2005.


Knowing that donor hearts were hard to come by, she and her family were worried that she could not last out the wait.

“There was also an additional worry for me. I was 56 years old at the time. What if I hit 60 and there was still no donor heart for me? Then I would no longer be considered for a transplant because of my age,” she said in Mandarin.

But about two months later, towards the end of November 2005, she received a call saying that she would be getting a new heart soon.

“I felt so relieved. I don’t know who the donor is, but I am very grateful to him or her and his family,” she said.

She had her operation at the National Heart Centre. Everything went smoothly, including her recovery.

“At the beginning, when I was still recovering, I took extra care not to tire myself. But now I feel like a different person. I can walk for long distances and not get tired or breathless. I can carry things when I walk. I can play with my grandson,” she said proudly.

Her grandson was born just after her operation.

“I feel that God has blessed me so I can be with my grandson,” she said.

She is also grateful to be still around for her husband and four sons, aged 24 to 33.

“They were so worried for me when I was ill. Now they don’t worry anymore.” She said.

None of her family members have opted out of Hota.

“They are too grateful and they know what it means for others,” she said.

A National Heart Centre spokesman said that the average number of heart transplants done every year before July 2004 was approximately one or two.

After July 2004, when the Hota was amended, the number of heart transplants carried out per year increased to three to four.

Last year, the total number of heart transplants done hit six, an all time high.


Source: The New Paper © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.