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News & Current Events Discuss Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctor refuses liver transplant at the General Forum; Alcoholic dies after doctors refuse liver transplant July 22, 2009 - 1:15PM A 22-year-old British man who became an alcoholic ...

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Old 07-21-2009, 11:05 PM
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Default Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctor refuses liver transplant

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Alcoholic dies after doctors refuse liver transplant
July 22, 2009 - 1:15PM


A 22-year-old British man who became an alcoholic as a teenager has died after doctors refused to give him a liver transplant.

Gary Reinbach began binge drinking when he was just 13 and ended up with severe cirrhosis of the liver.

He was admitted to a London hospital in May but died after doctors refused to give him a liver transplant amid fears he would not stay sober for six months after the operation.

Reinbach's distraught mother Madeline Reinbach said her son had been in great pain and scared before his life support machine was turned off on Sunday.

"When Gary was told how ill he was and how long he had left, I just held him and we both cried," she told the Daily Mirror newspaper in Britain on Tuesday.

"Gary wanted to live so badly - he did everything he could to co-operate with the doctors.

"They told him to stop smoking and he did. They told him to stay in bed and he did.

"All he wanted to do was prove that he was serious, and that he wouldn't drink again.

"But he never had the chance to prove himself properly because he was too fragile to be sent home.

"He couldn't go against the doctors, but because of that he couldn't have the second chance he wanted so much."

Reinbach was one of the youngest people in Britain to die of advanced cirrhosis brought on by binge drinking.

His mother said her son began drinking bottles of cheap cider with his mates while skipping school.

His habit got worse when he left school aged 17 and he began drinking up to eight cans of beer plus a bottle of vodka or half a bottle of whisky and cans of cider.

The NHS Blood and Transplant service said in a statement that Reinbach's case highlighted the dilemma faced by doctors because of a shortage of donated organs.

"They have to make tough decisions about who is going to get the benefit and who is going to take best care of this precious gift," the NHS said.

AAP

This story was found at: Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctors refuse liver transplant
Initially upon reading this article, I felt a great deal of disgust and revulsion at the fact that it was in the doctors' powers to save this person's young life, but failed to do so, simply because of an unsubstantiated belief that this man would relapse into alcoholism.

But at the same time, I can understand that there is a serious shortage of organs, including livers, and that if a liver were to have been given to this man, it would mean that another would miss out.

It is just such a tragedy that a man dies at such a young age, when he had his whole life ahead of him. It should serve as a warning to anyone that getting drunk and alcoholism are not jokes, and that drinking in moderation is imperative.

I feel this is particularly poignant because of the drinking culture in my college and Australia in general. If it could happen to this fellow, it could happen to anybody.

What do you guys think? Do you think things could have been done differently?
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:00 AM
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Post Re: Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctor refuses liver transplant

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What do you guys think? Do you think things could have been done differently?
Given the circumstances, no.


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Originally Posted by hussein
But at the same time, I can understand that there is a serious shortage of organs, including livers, and that if a liver were to have been given to this man, it would mean that another would miss out.
This is the main issue, IMO.
Should you give the liver to the guy who has too high of a probability of pissing it away?
Or give it to the guy who will take care of it?

Frankly, there are people who want transplants, that follow the rules, who don't get them in time.
I wish we had enough livers to go around for everybody, but given the circumstances, it's a rare resource which needs to be utilized judiciously.


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His mother said her son began drinking bottles of cheap cider with his mates while skipping school.

His habit got worse when he left school aged 17 and he began drinking up to eight cans of beer plus a bottle of vodka or half a bottle of whisky and cans of cider.
I don't think such decisions should be motivated by "learn a lesson"...
... but at the same time, when there is a lesson to be learned, it SHOULD be learned.
What was her mother doing during all this???

Maybe I just came from a household that knew discipline, but I can't fathom such a situation...
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Last edited by foundit66; 07-22-2009 at 12:06 AM..
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Old 07-22-2009, 02:53 AM
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Default Re: Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctor refuses liver transplant

If you look at the normal growth and development of humans, there are a few givens. One is that babies play side by side at a certain age but not actually with each other till much later because their Id is still the driving force in their struggle for survival.
People around sixty-five or so will have feelings of accomplishment or regret, depending.
30 somethings often want to get something done in a hurry before they hit the big four-oh.

Teens to early twenties almost always have an underlying feeling of invincibility. It is more than likely tied up with the sex drive, the drive to procreate, and what I call the drive to know everything (feelings wise).
This kid's invincibility feelings got twisted in with his addiction. Sad. But he was probably just becoming aware of his mortality when they pulled the plug.
I don't have a correct answer. It's just a sad case.
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:12 AM
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Default Re: Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctor refuses liver transplant

I think the cultural part of drinking also needs to be taken into account.

I've heard a lot about alcoholism being a disease, and how alcoholics can never have another drink because they will relapse, etc. etc. But in countries that have no legal drinking age, kids start drinking super early. I believe my husband started binge drinking at age 13 or 14, slowed down by the time he reached his late teens, and now probably has a six pack two or three times per year - for the last 12 years or so - he's 35. So, as much as you may think this person couldn't stop drinking because he was an 'alcoholic', I can show you hundreds of people who have been hardcore drinkers (all my cousins) in their youth but are not necessarily alcoholics. If this had been my husband, my brother or any number of young men I know, it would have been an injustice to deny them an organ based on the belief they wouldn't take care of it.

Then it could be argued that he pissed away his liver, so he might not deserve it as much as someone with a genetic condition or a failing organ through no fault of their own.

If the organ is compatible with two people, how do you decide who gets it? I don't envy the people who have to make that kind of decision, .
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:14 AM
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Default Re: Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctor refuses liver transplant

correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a medical procedure in where you can take a piece of a healthy liver and then graft it to a deseased liver and the healthy piece will eventually take over for the deseased liver? I know they have to have a match, but I seem to remember hearing about something like this.

I know this type of thing happens even in this country, but for a doctor to refuse any kind of help to someone so young and let them die, says something about the medical profession in general, imho.
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctor refuses liver transplant

From reading the story, I think that by the time he got to the hospital, his body was in very bad shape. It sounds like he wouldn't have survived even if he had gotten a liver. That's my opinion
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctor refuses liver transplant

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correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a medical procedure in where you can take a piece of a healthy liver and then graft it to a deseased liver and the healthy piece will eventually take over for the deseased liver? I know they have to have a match, but I seem to remember hearing about something like this.

I know this type of thing happens even in this country, but for a doctor to refuse any kind of help to someone so young and let them die, says something about the medical profession in general, imho.
That is the question we asked when my brother was waiting (never got) a liver transplant.
But it was explained to us that in some cases where there were other health conditions (my bro was diabetic) you had to replace the whole liver cause the body wasn't strong enough to regenerate and take care of the other stress.
But yes they do regenerate in an otherwise healthy body.
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Old 07-22-2009, 04:05 PM
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Exclamation Re: Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctor refuses liver transplant

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Originally Posted by MrLiberty View Post
correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a medical procedure in where you can take a piece of a healthy liver and then graft it to a deseased liver and the healthy piece will eventually take over for the deseased liver? I know they have to have a match, but I seem to remember hearing about something like this.

I know this type of thing happens even in this country, but for a doctor to refuse any kind of help to someone so young and let them die, says something about the medical profession in general, imho.
Prepare for that here too and it may already be kind of that way anyhow, as it takes bucks and influence to get on the waiting list where the possibility exists for a liver?

Like all young men, I pissed around a little after school with the party scene and then a little when I got out of the service, but I seen relatives go to hell and my own family break up over booze, so I took the high road, and just left the damn stuff alone!!

I am no temperate person and I keep a 12 pk and a little bourbon on hand for guests, but no one gets drunk, as I won't have it that way!
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Old 07-22-2009, 07:55 PM
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Default Re: Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctor refuses liver transplant

Seeing all the problems that alcohol causes in our society, it just seems smarter to avoid the stuff altogether. Have an orange juice or carbonate soda.
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: Alcoholic, 22, dies after doctor refuses liver transplant

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Seeing all the problems that alcohol causes in our society, it just seems smarter to avoid the stuff altogether. Have an orange juice or carbonate soda.
Or have them together!
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