A SON has given his dad the gift of life by allowing surgeons to cut more than half his liver out and transplant it into his father.
Jonny and Noam Tamir went under the knife at the Royal Free Hospital in London last month and the operation appears to have saved Noam, who was in the late stages of liver failure.
During the surgery, which was by Professor Massimo Malagó, doctors removed 61 percent of Jonny’s liver and all of Noam’s diseased liver, before performing the complex 10-hour transplant, known as a living donor hepatectomy.
“I’m pleased I did it,” said Jonny, an ex-JFS student, now recovering at home. “It doesn’t feel too bad.”
His mother Ruth, an NCT childbirth educator and lactation consultant in north London, was relieved it had gone well, saying Deloitte auditor Jonny, a 23-year old former Masorti youth camp leader, had given his father the ultimate gift.
“Most people never get a chance to gift his father his life,” she said. “That is something he can take through his own life.”
Noam’s daughter Deborah, 26, said: “We all feel so thankful that Jonny chose to take this brave decision and gift our father a life. I would like to urge many people to sign up to donate their organs and help save lives.”
Israeli-born Noam was the youngest officer to take part in the 1976 ‘Entebbe Raid,’ in which Israeli commandos rescued hostages from Palestinian terrorists at an airport in Uganda.
After graduating from Haifa, he came to the UK and became an I.T. consultant, but in 2014 he diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, a rare liver disease, and told he needed a transplant. His family came to the rescue after realising that Noam was losing the race against time to find a suitable donor.
“When my dad was diagnosed it took a while for all of us to realise the severity of the situation,” said Jonny. “The likelihood is there wouldn’t be an organ for my dad in the time that he had to live.”
He added: “People die while waiting. They get more and more ill, so you reach the point where there is an organ for you, but you’re not well enough to have the transplant. It was a way to save my dad’s life. He was more worried about me than about him.”
Malagó, who confessed to being “always nervous before this operation,” said: “Transplantation is about helping. You can see it here in this family.”
Before the operation, Noam explained how he felt about his son’s decision to put himself in harm’s way, saying: “I have to go through with it. I have no other chance. But to risk Jonny, whom I love so much, it’s very difficult for me. It is the biggest fear of my life.”