From the archives …
Tweet with us!
Nearly two weeks ago my partner Richard posted his thoughts on a French study looking at whether or not alcoholics should abstain from drinking for six months prior to being listed for a liver transplant. The study found that those who abused alcohol successfully remained in sobriety after a transplant, even without that six month requirement. Richard agrees with the study’s conclusion that this six month requirement is meaningless and therefore should be abandoned.
After posting Richard’s comments, there has been some great discussion, especially in our LinkedIn groups. Some excellent points – thank you for that.
Complicating this discussion was a recent article in the LA Times regarding a gentleman that was removed from the liver transplant waiting list because of his medical marijuana use. You can read this at: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-transplant-20111126,0,3264105.story.
Richard’s post stated that I disagree with his conclusions. True. So, here are my thoughts on the issue.
But first, in the interest of full disclosure, I want to say a couple of things. The first is that if someone is acutely ill, for any reason, and organ transplantation enters into the care plan discussion, that discussion should NOT be stopped for any pre-existing life-style issues. The second is that as you know, I am a liver transplant recipient. And yes, my liver failure was directly related to alcohol abuse in my past. Ironically, I had stopped drinking on my own a few years before. But my playful past caught up to me. And I was subjected to the six month rule of documented attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at least weekly during that half a year. My disagreement with doing away with that abstinence period is not a case of “well, I had to do it, so everyone else should as well.” In fact, I support the six month waiting time because of what I learned during that time.
Having said all of that, please consider:
This issue, in my opinion, is much bigger then alcohol and livers. It’s about responsibility. How we treat ourselves. How we treat others. How we help others. And how we show gratitude for this greatest gift by being sure that the moment we walk out of the hospital, we are prepared to make the most of what we’ve been given.