Alcoholic dies after doctors refuse new liver

Last updated 00:00 22/07/2009

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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 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 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

 

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