Media man Derryn Hinch home with a new liver
With a new liver and a new lease on life, New Zealand-born Australian media star Derryn Hinch says going home from hospital after a life-saving liver transplant is ''un-bloody-believable''.
''It is something else, I'm feeling good,'' said the beaming 67-year-old as he emerged from the Austin Hospital on Saturday, inhaling the crisp Melbourne air.
''I'm most looking forward to getting home.''
The so-called Human Headline on July 6 underwent transplant surgery to give him a fresh liver to replace the cancerous, cirrhotic organ that was slowly killing him.
His recovery suffered a minor setback on Thursday when he had to have surgery to clear a blockage in his bile duct.
But he got the all clear to go home on Saturday.
As he walked from the hospital to his car accompanied by his teary-eyed wife Chanel Hayton, he thanked medical staff at the hospital as well as the family of his liver donor.
''The donor family, I don't know who they are, I just wish they knew what they've done, they've given me a second life and it's just awesome,'' he told reporters.
''Some people walk in here then don't walk out and I'm thinking now at this minute about the people that I've met in there who I've seen on the daily walks who may not make it out.''
He urged Australians to talk to their family members about organ donation and register to become donors, ''because if somebody hadn't done that for me, I wouldn't be here,'' he said.
Ms Hayton said it was a big day, being able to take her husband home.
''He's been hoping each day (to come home) but it's better, obviously, to stay here until he's good enough to come home,'' she said.
''I didn't think it would be happening for another two weeks or so, so it's great, I'm really happy. It's a whole new life.
''We've been given a second chance at everything.''
Hospital spokeswoman Taryn Sheehy said Hinch's road to recovery was not yet over and he would need to return to hospital to see his doctors twice every week.
But he had made great progress, given that the average liver transplant patient spends three weeks in hospital, she said.
''Today is a milestone for Derryn,'' said Ms Sheehy.
''Obviously going home, he's made great progress to this point and he's going home earlier than expected.
''There's still the risk that he might develop complications and that he would have to return to hospital so he is certainly not out of the woods yet.
''The next couple of months will be a crucial time for him.
''The main thing for Derryn is for him to slow down ... he just needs time to rest.''
Hinch will now prepare to be sentenced on July 21 for breaching suppression orders by naming sex offenders.
He asked the magistrate last month not to jail him, fearing he would not get to hospital in time to receive his transplant if he was in jail.
Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg indicated he would probably sentence him to home detention, but said Hinch would be going to jail if not for his ill health.