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22-year old alchoholic denied Liver Transplant.

(41 Posts)
Frasersmum123 Tue 21-Jul-09 19:23:58


I think its extremely sad that this young man died, but I can totally see where the DR's are coming from.

Frasersmum123 Tue 21-Jul-09 19:24:58

However what I do think is sad is that this young man was left to die, but George Best managed to get a transplant, and I wonder if his celebrity 'status' had anything to do with it?

differentID Tue 21-Jul-09 19:28:06

George BEst is the reason they have the 6 month abstinence clause. It was introduced after he had his.

southeastastra Tue 21-Jul-09 19:32:26

poor bloke was only 22, think it's quite sick really

idranktheteaatwork Tue 21-Jul-09 19:33:32

That article is so full of spin i'm dizzy.
The lad in the article was extremely ill, if he was that ill a transplant probably would have killed him, it's a massive op.

And i seriously doubt that George Best was given a transplant because of his "celebrity" status. He was given the transplant because at the time he had stopped drinking and was attending AA etc.

That lad wasn't "left to die". He was receiving intense medical care that failed to improve his condition.
Liver transplants are not handed out just on the basis of a six month abstention from booze, they are prioritised according to need, liklihood of survival of op, liklihood of survival for a certain period of time etc etc. The abstention is only a part of that.

edam Tue 21-Jul-09 19:37:07

Sounds like Catch 22 - you can only have a transplant if you abstain for six months outside hospital so being very ill and kept in hospital means you cannot qualify for a transplant.

Do hope the mother has got this wrong and the system is not quite that stupid. (Although agree, he may have been too ill to have a transplant anyway, poor lad.)

MovingOutOfBlighty Tue 21-Jul-09 19:39:03

Perhaps its time for the Govt to actually listen to the British medical Assoc and actually have a minimum pricing on alcohol.
Its way too cheap. Have you seen how much Tesco own label lager costs.
Its not much.

Frasersmum123 Tue 21-Jul-09 19:39:57

But George Best did start drinking again, less than a year after his transplant.

idranktheteaatwork Tue 21-Jul-09 19:46:47

Yes and i'm not disputing that he did.

You do not qualify for a transplant based only on whether or not you have abstained for 6 months.
There are lots of factors. It's complex.

HerBeatitude Tue 21-Jul-09 19:50:41

It was a brilliantly written article designed to tug at the heartstrings and make us all think how wrong it is that this 22 year old couldn't be given a second chance.

The DM are the very people who would be fulminating about the waste of NHS money if the lad had been given a transplant.

I suspect the article does not give us the full story tbh.

GIvePeasAChance Tue 21-Jul-09 19:54:30

If everyone carried a donor card perhaps this moral dilemma would not be so common for doctors.

FWIW I think a 13 year old drinking excessively has serious emotional problems, and we should be addressing these rather than slating him for being an alcoholic. Our system deals with symptoms and not causes. And forever it will be.

FAQtothefuture Tue 21-Jul-09 19:55:16

bbc story on it

tbh I don't know that much about transplants, but it sounds like he was already seriously ill when admitted - would he even have been strong enough (even if he'd already been off the alcohol for 6 months) to have survived the transplant?

Reallytired Tue 21-Jul-09 20:01:42

Its very sad, but a lot of people on the transplant list die before recieving a transplant.

No one wanted this young man to die, but there is a shortage of organs. Prehaps the doctors had two patients and one liver.

Would you give a liver to a silly 15 year old who has taken an overdose of paracentanol or this 22 year old man or give the liver to someone who has a nasty generic disease which is destroying their liver. These decisions are not easy.

Northernlurker Tue 21-Jul-09 20:07:36

I object to the way this story is being posed - that he was 'denied' a liver. He wasn't - he was denied the possibility of a transplanted liver, not that they had a matching liver and refused to give him it. Even if they'd listed him he could still have died waiting - as many, many people do each year.

Knowing a patient will comply with the after transplant regime is a vital part of listing for transplant. Transplant is not an easy cure - it offeres the best chance of normal life but it isn't an absolute solution and it's success depends on the patient doing everything they can to keep that organ healthy. Of course a 22 year old dying is a tragedy and it must be beyond horrible for his mother but this guy's fate was in his own hands from the moment he started drinking. He made lousy choices and it's really unfair to blame the doctors for the choices they've made in the face of that. It must have been pretty awful for them - to be responsible for going against the patient's wishes because you just can't trust him.

Besom Tue 21-Jul-09 20:08:54

Would there even have been a liver available anyway? And for every liver/organ available they clearly have to make a decision about who will get it. I'm sure the decisions are not as arbitary as this article makes it sound.

There will be a lot more to this than meets the eye.

expatinscotland Tue 21-Jul-09 20:13:59

what idrankthetea and Northern said.

spot on posts.

minimum pricing solves nothing. ever seen how cheap it is in Europe, but you don't see the levels of public drunkeness and binge drinking that you see here (except Brits on holiday perhaps).

make it a serious offense to be publicly intoxicated. raise the age to 21 and be serious about enforcing it - as in, punishing the underage drinker caught in possession, too.

bumpsoon Tue 21-Jul-09 20:35:47

Im sorry this young man died what is one of the worst deaths you can imagine ,i really am.
However saying he was denied a liver transplant is ludicrous ,he had acute liver failure ,not chronic, acute . The medical team looking after him will have done everything in their power to keep him alive ,but sadly ,as in this case is a battle they seldom win. I have seen many, many people die this way and even in the face of unsurmountable odds the drs never give up ,i have seen only one person this ill make anywhere near a recovery long enough to be considered for the transplant list.i doubt very much that he would of survived any sort of surgery,let alone the trauma that a transpant involves.
Oh and i thought george best had his transplant done privately

edam Tue 21-Jul-09 21:29:04

doesn't matter whether GB had his treatment on the NHS or privately, private hospitals don't have a separate stock of livers. The transplant he had was denied to someone else on the waiting list.

However, I'd find it hard to condemn him, alcoholism is a horrible addiction. But it is true that someone else lost out.

MummyDragon Tue 21-Jul-09 21:54:29

As someone else said, the rules about transplants and abstinence were introduced after the George Best fiasco.

What hasn't been explained in this sad story is how on earth the deceased managed to drink so heavily throughout his teenage years without any of his friends or family trying to do anything about it ... or, if they did, it hasn't been reported. Definitely a lot more to this story than what's been made public.

A tragic waste of a young life, whatever your views on transplants.

ilovemydogandmrobama Tue 21-Jul-09 22:00:46

What I don't understand is that I was under the impression that liver transplants could be done 'live' -- and that the liver regenerates, so theoretically, a relative could donate part of their liver, or do I have this horribly wrong?

In any case, it would be sad if this boy wasn't given the opportunity to meet the criteria for a transplant...

TitsalinaBumsquash Tue 21-Jul-09 22:01:16

The question is, why was this boy an alcaholic at the age of 13?! That is the sad thing.

TitsalinaBumsquash Tue 21-Jul-09 22:04:08

Sorry i should say, Why was he drinking at 13? I should imagine it took time to become Alcahol dependant.

HerBeatitude Tue 21-Jul-09 22:13:28

He must have been pissed for much of the time, because the liver is an amazing regenerative organ and can take an awful lot of abuse and renew itself before it gives up. Perhaps he had some kind of genetic per-disposition to liver disease as well, because 9 years is a very short time to do so much damage. Mind you, he was a child at 13 and perhaps his liver had not developed enough to deal with regular alcohol abuse?

Whatever, it's a very, very sad case. What a waste of a life.

expatinscotland Tue 21-Jul-09 22:29:11

'In any case, it would be sad if this boy wasn't given the opportunity to meet the criteria for a transplant... '

It is entirely possible that by the time he entered hospital, he may have been too ill to meet the criteria, so it was never a matter of opportunity.

It is also possible that there was no living donor who was a match for him.

Ponders Tue 21-Jul-09 22:39:44

He started drinking because his parents had split up, according to the DM. He must have drunk a hell of a lot, or had an immature liver as HB suggests, which is very likely, thinking about it; a friend of ours in his mid-50s died of cirrhosis last year after about 20 years of all-day drinking hmm (& a good few years of drinking every evening before that) - this is from the email his partner sent us:

"He was diagnosed in April with cirrhosis of the liver and a hernia. He stopped drinking immediately, but I think the damage had been done. He was doing so-so but needed to have fluid drained from his stomach every few weeks which also removes necessary protein from your system. On the 28th of August, I came home after being away for an hour and he was delirious. I had him hospitalised immediately where he flat-lined for a very short period of time. He was in the hospital for 3 weeks. He needed a liver transplant but was refused for multiple reasons. He was released and was going to dialysis 3 times a week. Then, he became very sick and I took him to the hospital again. The next day, he flatlined for 20 minutes and went into a coma which he never recovered from. He died on 25th October"


We had seen them the previous summer (ie 2007) & he was in very poor shape then. I think by the time actual cirrhosis is diagnosed they are in such poor shape there's not much point in even considering a transplant.

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