‘This was a wakeup call for her.’

Dying woman, just 36, is denied a liver transplant from her own partner after doctors made an alarming discovery

A dying woman has been denied a partial liver transplant offered by her own partner for drinking while she was on the waiting list.

Amanda Husk, 36, has been on life support for three months awaiting the much-needed organ.

But she was denied the transplant after medics found the struggling alcoholic had relapsed before being admitted to hospital.

Now her devastated loved ones have been told she has just weeks to live, despite Husk agreeing to enter into an addiction program once she got her new liver.

‘This was a wakeup call for her, she wanted to make every advantage and every opportunity to make sure she could get this transplant and turn her life around,’ her partner Nathan Allen told CTV News.

The 36-year-old has been on life support for three months awaiting the much-needed organ.

The 36-year-old has been on life support for three months awaiting the much-needed organ.

Amanda Husk has been denied a liver transplant for drinking while she was on the waiting list.

Amanda Husk has been denied a liver transplant for drinking while she was on the waiting list.

Allen had offered to be a donor himself as he is a matching blood type.

However, medics at University Health Network in Ontario have refused the transplant request citing ‘minimal abstinence outside of hospital’.

Allen’s next course of action is to try to get Husk to Europe where a transplant would be possible, but he fears she may not survive that long.

‘We were told last week that she has a couple of weeks left to live maybe a month if she’s very lucky,’ Allen said explaining the treatment could cost $300,000.

‘I will do whatever I can to save her life, just like the medical profession should be doing here.’

Husk began drinking as a teenager and struggled to get her addiction under control.

The heartbreaking case has ignited ethical questions around the treatment of addiction.

Around 600 people are currently awaiting a liver transplant for a variety of reasons. About one in ten people who receive a transplant for alcoholic liver disease return to drinking.

Debra Selkirk, whose husband Mark died in 2010 after being denied a liver transplant due to drinking, slammed the decision.

Allen had offered to be a donor himself as he is a matching blood type


Allen had offered to be a donor himself as he is a matching blood type

However, medics at University Health Network in Ontario have refused the transplant request citing 'minimal abstinence outside of hospital'

However, medics at University Health Network in Ontario have refused the transplant request citing ‘minimal abstinence outside of hospital’

 

 

Allen now wants to transport Husk to Europe for a transplant, but fears she may not survive that long

Allen now wants to transport Husk to Europe for a transplant, but fears she may not survive that long

Her partner Nathan Allen said she had pledged to join an addiction program after receiving the transplant but was still denied


Her partner Nathan Allen said she had pledged to join an addiction program after receiving the transplant but was still denied

‘A life-saving procedure is being based on perceived poor behavior,’ she said.

‘People aren’t turned away because they didn’t exercise or because they work too much or they don’t get enough sleep or they didn’t follow doctor’s orders.

‘So, in Nathan and Amanda’s case, you’re seeing someone being told, ‘You didn’t follow doctor’s orders, so we’re not going to help you. We’re going to let you die,” she said.

Selkirk campaigns for more compassion towards those with liver failure caused by alcohol abuse.

Edmonton liver transplant surgeon, Dr. Saumya Jayakumar, who was not involved in Husk’s case explained that criteria for transplants is usually fairly uniform across Canada.

‘It’s a precious gift. It’s a limited resource,’ she said. ‘As you can imagine, making these decisions can result in a significant amount of moral distress with members of the team.

‘We can give you a brand new liver, but if we’re not able to change all of the circumstances that led to the liver failing, then have we really done you a service?’ she said.

‘I would say every single Transplant Center in Canada is having difficulty with both access to mental health funding for patients, as well as having access to mental health practitioners for transplant programs.’ she said.

There were more than 45,000 liver disease deaths in the US due to alcohol in 2022, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Around 29,000 of the deaths were men, while the remaining 16,000 were women.

Husk began drinking as a teenager and struggled with addiction into adulthood

Husk began drinking as a teenager and struggled with addiction into adulthood

Her plight has ignited ethical questions around treating those with addiction issues

Her plight has ignited ethical questions around treating those with addiction issues

Typically alcoholic liver disease has affected more men than women, however rates among females are on the rise in line with more women drinking than previously.

The disease, which causes abdominal pain, fatigue and jaundice among other symptoms, has a higher mortality risk in women.

Investigators from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai and colleagues found that women with steatotic liver disease related to alcohol consumption have almost twice the risk of dying within a certain time period than men with the same condition.

Medics believe this may because women produce less on an alcohol-busting enzyme than men and generally have a lower mass and body water content.

‘We are unable to comment on specific cases due to patient privacy, but can say there are multiple criteria for living donor eligibility, only two of which are blood type and willingness. Recipient criteria is governed jointly by transplant centers and Trillium Gift of Life Network,’ UHN officials said.

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