Page last updated at 19:37 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 20:37 UK

Man refused liver transplant dies

Gary Reinbach with his mother Madeline Hanshaw
Gary Reinbach developed cirrhosis of the liver

A man from east London who began binge-drinking at 13 has died after being denied a life-saving liver transplant.

Gary Reinbach, 22, from Dagenham, was given only a few weeks to live after developing cirrhosis of the liver.

He was admitted to University College Hospital London (UCL) with alcohol damage for the first time 10 weeks ago.

But health chiefs ruled he should not be exempt from strict organ donation criteria which require an alcohol-free period of at least six months.

Mr Reinbach, who died on Sunday, was too ill to be sent home after his admission to hospital.

Teenage drinking

A statement from NHS Blood and Transplant said: "This case highlights the dilemma doctors face because of the 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."

Campaign group Alcohol Concern called for more research into the way alcohol can affect young people's health.

The group said it was worried that a rise in teenage drinking would lead to more people suffering alcohol-related illnesses at younger ages.

Speaking about Mr Reinbach's case, a spokeswoman said: "This doesn't surprise us at all, sadly.

"Statistics show that more people are getting liver disease in their 30s and, if more teenagers are drinking, people will become seriously ill at a younger age."

A UCL spokeswoman said they extended their sympathies to the family at this "difficult time".

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