Gareth Anderson became critically ill after his liver failed
A 19-year-old youth who was given just weeks to live after damaging his liver in a drinking binge is recovering.
Gareth Anderson from Newtownards is due to return to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, today after six weeks at King's Hospital in London.
He nearly died after a weekend binge but was refused a place on the liver transplant waiting list because he had not been off drink for six months.
His fight for a liver prompted a fresh debate on organ transplant policy.
Before he was transferred to hospital in London, he left his bed at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald and went across the road to a pub to order a drink.
In London, his condition deteriorated rapidly and he was close to death on two occasions.
Now, despite the fact that he did not get a new liver, doctors believe he is on the road to recovery.
"We are just delighted," said his father, Brian.
"When he is flown to the Royal hospital, I will be sitting waiting for him. His liver has started to revitalise itself. His kidneys have kicked back in and they are working well, as are his bowels.
"This is all due to the hard work of the teams in King's College. It is truly a remarkable place."
Mr Anderson said when his son arrived in London, he was given about three weeks to live and told he needed a new liver.
"He ended up on a life support machine. He was sedated and the family were called to his bedside. He spent two weeks in intensive care...
"Nothing could prepare you. It was horrendous to see Gareth on life support and sedated."
That picture is a dramatic contrast to Gareth's current condition.
Brian Anderson said his son would need help, not just physically but emotionally.
"I do not think he is an alcoholic, but I do think he needs help with drink," he said.