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This is a story which is headlining over here in NI, I don't know if it is known in the mainland. Basically a 19 year old is dying of liver failure, after a weekend of partying. He cannot get on the donor list due to the fact he hasn't been clean of drink for 6 months.
I feel totally torn between making the exception in his case due to his young age and the fact that he has brought this on himself and there are probably people who need a new liver through no fault of their own. I do know however if I was the father I would be doing exactly the same thing and doing whatever I could to keep my son alive.
Maybe this story will highlight the dangers of alcohal abuse to young teenagers who tonight will be drinking all they can to get wasted.
This will only get worse over the next 5 to 10 years. I think most of us have whilst grown up spent many a Friday or Saturday night worse for wear. It differs now though and it's not down to the licensing laws in my opinion, it's down to the amount the young people drink. Even girls now brag about how much they can drink which I think is sad.
I don't know what the answer is though, putting up prices and tv adverts don't seem to work. Maybe every person who is taken to hospital due to excessive driking, should be charged for the use of an ambulance and be forced to pay a set fine of £500.00 minimum for their treatment. Maybe this would change their attitude, I don't know.
I can honestly see massive rises in liver and other organ disease in the next 5 to 10 years though.
Binge drinking is not a new phenomenon, what is, is the amount young people spend on alcohol and the higher strength beers and spirits now available.
At one time it was rare for a pub/bar to sell beer with an abv above 4%, now 4'5 - 5.5% are freely available as are spirits above 40% abv. In times past going out meant, for the fellas' a night on the beer, beer with an average abv of 3.8% and limited by the quantity that could be drank in an evening. Most girls were happy with a couple of 'Babychams' or Vodka & oranges and usually remained sober.
Sadly, young people now think it is 'big' to get drunk as a skunk because most of their peers do the same.
Liver damage does not just happen overnight nor a few months but is a degenerative diseave getting progressively worse over time.
The difficult question faced by the transplant surgeons is: Should they waste a perfectly healthy donated Liver on someone who is going to continue to abuse alcohol or give it to someone who is going to respect the gift of life given to them! Age should not even enter the equation.
A transplant of any description is a gift of life freely given by someone who has sadly lost theirs, it would be a huge disrespect to the donor to have their donated organs abused to the point that it becomes avoidably diseased. Also one has to remember the huge cost involved and the number of blood donors required in order to carry out any transplant operation.
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