Episode 3: A New Liver and a Second Chance at Life

Episode 3: A New Liver and a Second Chance at Life

One day, when she was only 39, bar manager Jamie Imhof collapsed. While she lay in a coma, doctors told her family that they knew how to save her life: she needed an immediate liver transplant. But according to an informal “rule” that  transplant centers apply to  patients with  liver failure due to heavy alcohol use, Jamie would not be eligible for a new liver for six months. For a case as severe as Jamie’s, waiting six months would be a death sentence. We hear about the “six month rule” for liver transplants and why one Baltimore surgeon says it’s a practice based on stigma, not science.

About the Experts

In addition to Jamie Imhof, this episode features interviews with:

This episode features interviews with:

Jeffrey Kahn

Andreas C. Dracopolous Director
Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics

Andrew MacGregor Cameron, MD, PhD

The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Additional Resources

If you or your loved one is struggling with alcohol use, visit the SAMHSA website to find help or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The United Organ Transplant Service (UNOS) helps distribute organs for transplant across the country. You can read more about how livers are distributed at their website

To learn more about Andrew Cameron’s program that ignores the six month rule, read this article from Hopkins Medicine Magazine. 

To learn more about the ethical arguments for and against giving liver transplants to people with alcohol use disorder, visit the Berman Institute’s episode guide.

Discussion Questions

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