George Best undergoing liver transplant

Discussion in 'Premier League: News and Analysis' started by sydtheeagle, Jul 30, 2002.

  1. sydtheeagle

    sydtheeagle New Member

    May 21, 2002
    Oxfordshire
    For the record, it's just been announced that Man Ure legend George Best is presently undergoing liver transplant surgery in London. The 16-hour operation will be completed late tonight. There is no announced prognosis.

    I'm sure we -- especially those of us lucky enough to have seen him play -- wish him the very best.

    Syd
     
  2. usscouse

    usscouse BigSoccer Supporter

    May 3, 2002
    Orygun coast
    I saw the news on Sky Sports tonight, “They” say he’s coming on fine and expected to make a full recovery. Georgie was fun to watch as a player, he was also fun to have a drink with, in his pub in LA.

    Best of luck to him.

    You are who you pretend to be.
    Kurt Vonegut Jnr.
     
  3. Motterman

    Motterman Member

    Jul 8, 2002
    Orlando, FL
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    On a side note:

    We all know about George's history, but I thought that this should be pointed out about the transplant:

    http://football.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/0,1563,766757,00.html

    Best was placed on the NHS transplant waiting list nine months ago. "He chose not to go private and jump the queue and that's why he waited so long," his agent Phil Hughes said.
     
  4. delo_pata

    delo_pata Member

    Jan 12, 2001
    Durham, NC
    The agent chose his words badly. Private patients in the UK cannot "jump the cue" [implicitly over NHS patients] for a transplant. There may be other advantage of going private over NHS, but not with respect to the wait time for an organ.
     
  5. Motterman

    Motterman Member

    Jul 8, 2002
    Orlando, FL
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That may be true, but I think that the point is more that he didn't attempt to use his influence to get an organ faster than another deserving person. It may be harder to do in the UK to do this, but not in America and other parts of the world, sadly.
     
  6. delo_pata

    delo_pata Member

    Jan 12, 2001
    Durham, NC
    Um, no, that's not true in the US or in the UK. I've worked for many years in the transplant field in the US and while there certainly are flaws in the system at the "front end" (i.e., where the person is initially listed), it is impossible to manipulate the system once you are listed.
     
  7. Boro_lad

    Boro_lad New Member

    although i hope the man is ok....does he deserve the liver??...he is an alcoholic and has been warned for years in his life that he needs to stop or his liver will pack in...did he?...while others on the list may have problems with thier liver which they had no control over....they should have more priority.
     
  8. Motterman

    Motterman Member

    Jul 8, 2002
    Orlando, FL
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Are you saying that if you have money and influence, that's it's unlikely you could get an organ transplant sooner than somebody who is not?

    I find that hard to believe personally. Look at the U.S. criminal justice system as just one example.
     
  9. Motterman

    Motterman Member

    Jul 8, 2002
    Orlando, FL
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    He deserves the liver as he is a sick human being. And if you take your argument out to it's logical conclusion about who deserves what first, it gets very messy indeed. Can't worry about AIDS, must work on MS first. Can't worry about cancer, must work on West Nile Virus first. After all, most AIDS and cancer patients continued behaviours (unsafe sex, smoking, etc.) they were warned about....
     
  10. sydtheeagle

    sydtheeagle New Member

    May 21, 2002
    Oxfordshire
    If you're a doctor, then he deserves it. Doctors treat illnesses, full stop. As the t-shirt used to say (and probably still does), "Fight AIDS, not people with AIDS". If there's even a hint of prejudice in your post (and I'm not saying there is), then please take it somewhere else.
     
  11. pething101

    pething101 Member

    Jul 31, 2001
    Smyrna, Ga
    Club:
    West Ham United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Hope the transplant takes. And if it does, I hope he takes advantage of the extra time he has recieved.
     
  12. delo_pata

    delo_pata Member

    Jan 12, 2001
    Durham, NC
    Hard to believe, yes, but the waiting list in the US is maintained in a centralized database at UNOS (you can read al about it at unos.org). Although there are plenty of controversial issues about how organs are allocated, wealth and fame, fortunately, are not related to those problems. Of course at a broader level--regarding access to health care in the first place--there are huge and disturbing disparities across economic strata. But once a person is actually listed in the system, there is nothing they can do to "move up" over anyone else. I have heard of only one case where someone with great wealth allegedly attempted to manipulate the system, and the hospital and staff associated with the case got into very deep and well-deserved trouble.
     
  13. Boro_lad

    Boro_lad New Member

    im just trying to say that this is a self inflicted illness. There are people with non self inflicted illnesses. Shouldnt they who had no choise be more of a priority?

    Indirectly he may kill another man because of his drinking. Just think people who ignore all the advise that he got to stop drinking should not be allowed priority treatment. like they do with drug addicts.
     
  14. Motterman

    Motterman Member

    Jul 8, 2002
    Orlando, FL
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This person must be a BS plant, to get us to buy the premium membership to activate our Ignore Lists.
     
  15. Trojan

    Trojan New Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    The Mickey Mantle case springs to mind. He announced he needed a new liver and got one the next day. He lived two months. Hopefully a very rare exception to the rule.
     
  16. MarioKempes

    MarioKempes Member+

    Real Madrid, DC United, anywhere Pulisic plays
    Aug 3, 2000
    Raleigh, NC
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    How can anyone turn their back on someone in need of medical care? Regardless of how Best got in his present condition, he needs helps and he should get it. Best has suffered for his "crimes" in many other ways besides liver damage.
     
  17. Motterman

    Motterman Member

    Jul 8, 2002
    Orlando, FL
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Something everybody should read about this

    http://www.soccernet.com/england/news/2002/0804/20020804featbest.html

    Surgeon feared George would die
    By Alex Best

    EXCLUSIVE: No one knows how close I - and everyone else who loves George - came to losing him. An average liver transplant uses about eight pints of blood. George needed 40 pints pumped into his body because he'd haemorrhaged so badly.

    The operation lasted ten hours - and for the first few hours the surgeons were battling to stabilise him before they could even start to remove his liver.

    George suffered massive internal bleeding. Because his liver wasn't functioning properly, his blood didn't clot as it should. He also had high blood pressure, which meant he bled more quickly.

    On top of this, he has a very deep ribcage so his liver was extremely difficult to get out - much harder than the doctors thought. They said it was very rocky.

    I'm so relieved I didn't know about any of this at the time - I don't think I'd have been able to bear it. When I heard about it afterwards from George's surgeon, Nigel Heaton, I was so shocked that I just broke down.

    I thought: 'Oh, my God, I've nearly lost him. How would I carry on without him?' All the scenarios went through my head of life without the man I love. I just fell apart. It would be horrendous. Unthinkable.

    George told me that while he was unconscious he'd had this vivid dream that he'd died on the operating table. He'd had an out-of-body experience, when you're looking down at yourself from above.

    I said, 'Was it nice?' and he said, 'Yes it was, actually, but I wasn't going there.' I asked the doctors about it and they said his heart didn't stop at any time . . . but, all the same, George's story made my blood run cold.

    We'd been waiting eight months for this transplant and George's condition was deteriorating all the time. He had been feeling so terrible and just wanted to feel better.

    Having been a super-fit sportsman, he found illness so frustrating. He wasn't strong enough to take the dogs for a walk and would get out of breath on the stairs. He was aching and feeling sick most days and having more 'off' days than good ones. I could tell he was getting weaker.

    But it wasn't until doctors opened him up that they realised how close he had come. His liver was in an awful state, and if he'd not had the transplant he wouldn't have lasted three months.

    Last week's drama began on Monday night when Professor Roger Williams, consultant hepatologist at University College London, phoned us at home in Chipstead, Surrey, to tell us he had a liver.

    We were incredibly excited, of course, but he warned: 'Don't raise your hopes - this often happens, then nothing comes of it.'

    They had to check that his body wouldn't reject the liver automatically, so we knew we might get a call at any time. We hardly slept a wink.

    When the phone rang at 6am we knew this was it. George picked it up and said, 'Come on, we're going.' I was in shock, so God knows what he was going through. We'd been thinking about this moment for ages and I thought I was prepared. But I was running around like a headless chicken, shoving things in a bag, unable to think what I was doing.

    We dropped our two red setters, Red and Rua, at my mother's place and I drove us to London. We were silent most of the way, deliberately not talking about the operation. We just spoke about everyday things. I asked George if he was nervous and he admitted he was.

    We arrived at Cromwell Hospital in West London at 8am and George had blood tests and a heart check. The anaesthetist was with him for an hour and I couldn't believe how brave George was. He takes everything in his stride - but this was a major operation.

    He was even making jokes. When his surgical stockings arrived and he was being measured up, he said, 'I could get used to these.'

    But for all the humour, I knew he was worried. I asked, 'Are you OK? Are you scared?' and he just said, 'Mmm' with a little nod of his head.

    Then he had his 'pre-med' injection and porters took him into theatre.

    It was 10.10am and I felt dazed --everything had happened so quickly. Here I was, with George's best friend and agent, Phil Hughes, following his trolley to the operating theatre doors. George was smiling now - probably enjoying the pre-med!

    He kissed me and I said, 'I love you.' He said, 'I love you, too.' We said goodbye and he was wheeled away . . . and that's when I got upset.

    What I hadn't seen through the tears was George - woozy from the injection - winking at Phil as he disappeared. 'That's when I knew he'd be all right,' Phil told me later.

    Then, after all the emotion and rushing around, everything suddenly stopped and I was left thinking, 'What's happening to him now?' They had to take out all George's insides and put them back. When you imagine that happening to someone you love, you get very worried.

    But there's nothing you can do. You just have to sit and hope and wait.

    I was also trying desperately to contact George's 21-year-old son, Calum, whose mobile phone was diverting to voice mail. Finally, he called me after hearing the news through a friend and arrived at the hospital at noon. He gave me a big cuddle and I told him everything.

    While the operation was going on Calum, Phil and I were lost in our own thoughts and didn't really know what to say to each other. The hours ticked by and still there was no news from the theatre. It was 2.15pm when we were told to wait in George's room - but at 7.30pm we were still awaiting news.

    I was so worried. Then Dr Akeel Alisa, the Professor's registrar, arrived to tell us George had another hour to go. They stabilised him in intensive care and at 8.30pm we were allowed to see him.

    George was still unconscious and on a ventilator. He had tubes coming from everywhere, three in his neck, another in his nose, another in his arms and some from other parts of his body.

    Seeing him like that was very upsetting, even though I'd been shown on a diagram of the human body exactly what they'd do. My tears welled up . . . he looked so fragile and helpless. The pain and the shock to your system after an operation that big must be incredible. Still crying, I gave him a kiss and sat holding his hand.

    I left George at 10.30pm. I wanted to stay but the doctors said we should rest because over the next few days he would need our support and it would be no good us walking round like zombies. Yet it was so hard leaving George to go to an empty hotel room and a cold, empty bed.

    This was the crucial time for George because the liver could so easily be rejected. I was shattered but couldn't sleep, dozing fitfully all night. I had to keep my mobile phone on and didn't want to let myself go off to sleep, thinking it was going to ring any moment. Even now, when things have been going so well, every time the phone rings, I jump out of my skin.

    They kept George sedated until 6am on Wednesday. I phoned intensive care first thing that morning and they said he had opened his eyes and squeezed the doctor's hand. That was such a relief.

    I went to see him and was overcome with emotion when he recognised me. George had had a very long anaesthetic and was quite disorientated. He squeezed my hand weakly but could-n't speak because he still had the ventilator tube down his throat.

    But already he looked different. He was quite swollen with water retention but his skin, which had been yellow and jaundiced, was looking pink, as if it was coming back to life. You could actually see that his new liver was working - it was an incredible experience.

    The nursing staff kept him awake through the day, encouraging him to breathe by himself. They were squeezing wet sponges in his mouth to let him have a drink.

    And despite the pain, George's humour still came to the fore.

    They put on the radio to keep him awake and Magic FM played one of his favourite songs, Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World. George held up his hands and did a little jig with them lying in the bed. It made us laugh and was so encouraging to see.

    Every hour he was getting a little better. I sat talking to him and doing the cryptic crossword. I couldn't find an answer, so I told him to think about that clue until he could speak.

    George wanted to let me know what he was thinking but could use only sign language. I couldn't always understand what he was saying, so I'd ask him questions until we got it right.

    The most distressing thing was that he kept wanting to cough - and when he coughed he was blowing into the ventilator tube. He got very red in the face and it looked as though he was choking, so they had to get the suction to get the mucus out.

    It must have been so painful on his poor stomach. I just wished I could have reached out to take away some of the pain. I felt guilty for being well while he was hooked to machines and in agony.

    George was taken off the ventilator at 3pm on Wednesday . . . and that night he whispered his first words. He said, 'What day is it?' There are no windows in intensive care so you can't tell if it's night or day.

    I explained that it was Wednesday and that he'd had the operation the day before. He just said, 'Oh' because his throat was so sore. He squeezed my hand, gave me a little smile and said, 'Never again!'

    The following morning, Thursday, he was less sleepy. He felt quite sick but was looking well. I got out my mirror and showed him and he said, 'Oh, yes' and seemed pleased. He'd just bought 24 koi carp and wanted to know how they were, so I phoned the lady who comes to the house.

    By now, George seemed in a lot of pain because the drugs were wearing off, so he had to have painkillers.

    On Friday morning, he was out of bed and taking his first exercise. The surgeon said the next couple of days would be the worst for pain. George felt very sick and was drifting in and out of sleep. The nurses have to keep checking his vital signs and giving him anti-rejection drugs, so he can't get a good night's sleep.

    But, saying that, he wanted to know if I had his bookie's number because he wanted to have a few bets. He was watching the racing on TV and discovered that on the day of his operation a horse was running that he always backs. It won - and he was annoyed about that.

    He started taking soup - which I had to feed to him - and drinks but nothing fizzy. And he asked me to get him some Calippo ice-lollies.

    His progress astounded his physicians - and on Friday the nurses got him out of bed to take his first, hesitant steps. But it was traumatic for him and he nearly fainted. He felt dizzy, took a few little steps and he was completely exhausted.

    Now the physio gets him to move his toes and legs and do chest exercises to help his lung congestion. While I was there a beautiful orchid arrived from Elton John and his partner David Furnish, which really chuffed George. He was able to talk about football again, wanting to know when his Sky show starts and trying to think when the FA Cup is. But it still hurt to talk.

    Yesterday he was hungry so I brought in barbecued chicken and salad - his first meal. He was very sore and the doctors said he may get post-operative depression. I think he feels a loss of dignity because he can't do anything for himself.

    They were worried he may get a chest infection because of all the mucus. The nurses are still getting him out of bed regularly to help his breathing and circulation. Everything else is going well and his blood is already clotting normally.

    And yesterday the nurses walked George down the ward in the afternoon for the first time. I'm still feeling shattered but I must be strong. When he's better it'll be like getting the old George back.

    I know that some people have said he should not have been top of the list for transplant because his illness was self-inflicted. But everybody deserves a second chance.

    Just because George is famous, why shouldn't he have one, too? I'm sure there are other people out there who have had transplants through alcohol-related problems. Alcoholism is a disease.

    For the past year George has had pellets of the drug Antabuse sewn into his stomach. The drug will make him violently ill if he has as much as a single glass of wine.

    He will continue to have the pellets implanted every three months. I don't know if he would have had a drink without them but they help him mentally - he knows he can't have a drink. That's the deal George has made with himself.

    We also know that George would be letting down the family of the donor if he did not take care of his new liver. I get incredibly upset when I think about the poor person who died and gave him another chance in life.

    The decision to be a donor is so brave - I'm in awe of what the person has done. To have a member of your family die . . . and then give part of him or her away.

    I've always felt that if you have a donor card it is tempting fate but I will definitely get one now. I can't thank the donor's family enough. We don't know who the donor was but we can write some sort of letter thanking the family.

    George and I have been through counselling to help with the psychological aspects of the transplant and to cope with possible post-operation depression which, apparently, could give him feelings of guilt.

    We were advised to speak to somebody who has had a transplant - but George felt embarrassed to talk to a stranger so we didn't do it.

    We would love to have children together and we've often talked about it. The doctors have said we might have to wait about a year but when George comes out of hospital and he's well, we'll try. It would just make everything perfect.

    Thousands of e-mails, letters and cards have been sent to the hospital and more messages left on George's website. I've drawn so much strength from all the love that surrounds him.

    One of the e-mails reads, 'If your new liver is as good as your heart, then you'll be fine.'

    I don't think I can say it any better than that.
     

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