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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 20:54 GMT
Wife gives husband gift of life
By Alex Robertson
BBC Scotland news website

It was the ultimate gift. Surgeons described it as "truly extraordinary".

Daniel and Jennifer Foster
Daniel and Jennifer Foster on their wedding day in Fiji

Jennifer Foster saved her husband Daniel's life by donating more than half her liver.

Mr Foster, 28, from New Zealand, said his wife was amazing and "the bravest woman in Scotland".

"Through the incredible courage and love of my wife, I've been given a new chance at life," he said.

"It was an impossibly hard decision to make but we feel it was the right one.

"I can't wait to start living the years ahead with my amazing wife."

He added: "We've made it through and we're both on the road to recovery."

Mr Foster was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis 10 years ago.

Last summer, his condition deteriorated and in September he was put on the waiting list for a liver transplant.

Medics said he would need a transplant within a year.

His wife offered to help and the transplant - the first of its kind in Scotland - took place on 16 January, 2008, eight months after the couple married.

Mr Foster said: "Jen said to me, 'If the shoe was on the other foot, what would you do?' and I would have done it in a heartbeat."

The risks were high, said experts. The procedure at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh lasted about 10 hours.

Donor card

The liver is capable of rapid regeneration.

The right lobe can be removed and transplanted into a recipient.

This is followed by regeneration in both the recipient and the donor so that the liver has the potential to grow to full size in both patients.

Jennifer and Daniel Foster
Jennifer and Daniel Foster before the operation

Mrs Foster, from Ardrossan, said: "I'm elated that this operation has been a success ... we have been able to save Dan's life."

The 26-year-old student veterinary nurse recovered relatively rapidly from her operation and was discharged six days after the operation.

Her husband has also been discharged.

NHS Lothian said 8,000 patients across the UK wait for a life-saving transplant.

Every year, about 1,000 patients die while waiting for a transplant or are removed from the list because their health has deteriorated.

Mrs Foster said the UK's donor card system must be updated to meet demand.

"People on the list are dying needlessly whilst awaiting a suitable donor to become available and I feel the current policy is long overdue an update to remedy this," she said.

"I appeal to anyone who has ever considered becoming a donor, to sign up. Every one of us has the potential to help save a life."

SEE ALSO
Success for live liver transplant
28 Feb 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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