Late liver surgeon saved patient's life & did not charge her medical fees for 20 years

Li comes from a single-parent family that is not wealthy.

Karen Lui | December 06, 2021, 05:43 PM

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Tan Kai Chah, a renowned liver transplant surgeon, has passed away at the age of 68 on Dec. 5 morning.

Tan had reportedly died from heart attack during a business trip in Hainan, China.

Many tributes poured in after his passing was made known to the public, including the ones from the Sultan of Johor and actor Pierre Png.

A 20-year-old Li Man Qi (translated from Chinese) also shared how Tan was a benefactor to her.

Tan saved her life

Speaking to 8world, Li who comes from Johor Bahru said that when she was born 20 years ago, her complexion and eyes were yellow, and was subsequently found to have liver inflammation.

Back then, a local doctor had told her mother that a liver transplant was necessary for Li to live. Li was later referred to Tan who was practising medicine at Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore.

After conducting an examination, Tan was certain that she did not need a liver transplant and just needed to remove the bile ducts.

She subsequently underwent a surgery that was performed by Tan, and was discharged from the hospital five days later.

She has since grown up healthily.

Li said she had heard about this from her mother and she is very grateful towards Tan.

Thanks to Tan, Li is able to lead a normal life, and her liver remains intact and functioning well.

In addition, she did not have to take any medication in the past 20 years.

Never charged her for the past 20 years

Li shared with 8world that she comes from a single-parent family that is not wealthy.

After she fell sick, her mother cried every day and even considered ending both of their lives, she added.

Li learnt from her mother that the surgery back then amounted to over S$14,000.

Upon learning about her family's predicament, Li's mother only had to pay for the scan and hospitalisation fees while the rest of the bill was waived by Tan.

Li described Tan to be "an angel from heaven". She emphasised that if not for Tan, she would not be alive today.

In the past two decades, Li had been meeting Tan once every two to three years for medical reviews. She also had to take blood tests on a regular basis.

All these years, Tan had never collected any form of payment from her, Li told 8world.

Li also fondly recalled how Tan would call her name and say "You've grown up" each time they met.

The last time Li and Tan met was in late 2019.

Li, who intends to further her studies in Australia, initially wanted to send her blood test result to Tan before she travels.

Li said that she was shocked and saddened to learn about Tan's death.

She added that she does not know who to turn to for future medical reviews and where else to find such a remarkable doctor.

Top image via Asian American Liver Centre.

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