New Study Suggests Doing Away With Six Month Wait For Liver Transplants

by nph | November 11th, 2011

November 11, 2011

Arguments are brewing from both sides over a new study that finds alcoholics in need of liver transplants should not have to prove their commitment to a change in lifestyle by staying sober for a six-month period prior to the life-saving surgery. According to the Associated Press, the French study was released in the newest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine Thursday.

The study examined 27 patients suffering from severe hepatitis brought on by years of heavy drinking and that were getting no better from drug treatments. They all pledged to quit drinking and received transplants to profound results. After a three-year follow-up, only three of the patients had started drinking again. This rate is much lower than the commonly accepted 30 percent fall off rate for patients who go through the six-month wait period.

Despite the positive results, many in the medical field are skeptical of the findings, citing differences in culture as a reason for the conclusions reached by the data and fearing a drop in donor numbers if they believe organs are going to go to active drinkers. They say removing the six-month rule could flood transplant recipient lists with thousands of struggling and sick alcoholics, therefore putting those who are not sick because of lifestyle choices in danger of longer waits and possibly death.

The Ohio Medical Malpractice Attorneys with Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy ask, should patients in need of a transplant be able to receive it regardless of lifestyle choices? Tell us your opinion by posting to our Facebook page.