ONTD Political

Medical marijuana user dies without transplant

3:50 pm - 11/12/2009
SEATTLE (AP) - A musician who was denied a liver transplant because he used marijuana with medical approval under Washington state law to ease the symptoms of advanced hepatitis C died Thursday.

The death of Timothy Garon, 56, at Bailey-Boushay House, an intensive care nursing center was confirmed to The Associated Press by his lawyer, Douglas Hiatt, and Alisha Mark, a spokeswoman for Virginia Mason Medical Center, which operates Bailey-Boushay.

Dr. Brad Roter, the physician who authorized Garon to smoke pot to alleviate for nausea and abdominal pain and to stimulate his appetite, said he did not know it would be such a hurdle if Garon were to need a transplant.

The case has highlighted a new ethical consideration for those allocating organs for transplant, especially in the dozen states that have medical marijuana laws: When dying patients need a transplant, should it be held against them if they've used pot with a doctor's blessing?

Garon died a week after his doctor told him a University of Washington Medical Center committee had again denied him a spot on the liver transplant list because of his use of marijuana, although it was authorized under Washington state law.

"He said I'm going to die with such conviction," Garon told an AP reporter at the time. "I'm not angry, I'm not mad, I'm just confused."

Garon believes he contracted hepatitis C by sharing needles with "speed freaks" as a teenager. In recent years, he said, pot has been the only drug he's used. In December, he was arrested for growing marijuana.

He had been in the hospice for two months and previously was rejected for a transplant at Swedish Medical Center for the same reason he later got from the university hospital.

Swedish said he would be considered if he avoided pot for six months and the university hospital offered to reconsider if he enrolled in a 60-day drug treatment program, but doctors said his liver disease was too advanced for him to last that long. The university hospital committee agreed to reconsider anyway, then denied him again.

ascendings 12th-Nov-2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
worldmage 12th-Nov-2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
I fucking hate this country sometimes.
darthweez 12th-Nov-2009 10:07 pm (UTC)
He had been ...rejected for a transplant at Swedish Medical Center for the same reason

not just us, bb
darthweez 12th-Nov-2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
WAIT, he was denied a transplant because he was taking something that was medicinally prescribed to him? What the hell?

As someone whose aging parents use medical marijuana, this scares the shit out of me! What if my father's organs start to fail (he's in his 60's, it could happen soon), will he be denied treatment as well? What about my mother.

AARRGG. This makes me so angry/upset.
sephirajo 12th-Nov-2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I read this and wondered if it was the real reason my Dad wasn't on the heart transplant list. He died without getting on the transplant list and also smoked/took pot medicinally.
inthiscolony 12th-Nov-2009 10:24 pm (UTC)
Your icon is fantastic.
zharia 12th-Nov-2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry but it's to the point I don't even consider maijuana a drug anymore.
emofordino 12th-Nov-2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
seriously! it is less incapacitating and less harmful than everything else out there, cigarettes and alcohol including.

i fucking hate this country sometimes.
nikoel 12th-Nov-2009 10:18 pm (UTC)
That is so fucked up. I'm practically at a loss for words. This is my city and here I was all proud that medical marijuana is legal and then this. Just horrible. What if he'd been on morphine instead? Seriously, this is so fucking wrong!
intrnetsuprhero 12th-Nov-2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
If I could pick a single case to demonstrate how absurd America's drug policy is, this would be it.
audacian 12th-Nov-2009 10:23 pm (UTC)
evilgmbethy 12th-Nov-2009 10:26 pm (UTC)
oh my god, rage.
pullmystrings 12th-Nov-2009 10:35 pm (UTC)
that is gd ridiculous
normanee 13th-Nov-2009 02:05 am (UTC)
That's my biggest red flag for all this pro-legalization stuff too. Smoking is really bad for you :/
layweed 12th-Nov-2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
Now that's just retarded. If he smoked medical marijuana then MAYBE, and that's a very BIG maybe, they could say that he isn't allowed to donate to others. But as the recipient? And with the doctor's prescription? WTF PLZZ.
celtic_thistle 12th-Nov-2009 10:55 pm (UTC)
For fuck's sake.
randomneses 12th-Nov-2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
Lame sauce
grace_om 12th-Nov-2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
I didn't think there was any evidence that marijuana is associated with liver damage (hence making a regular user a poor candidate for a liver transplant for the same reasons an active alcoholic is). However, it seems it may not be that simple. STILL
grace_om 12th-Nov-2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
pushed "send" too soon!

STILL, the hospital seems to have missed the point that he was using to ease symptoms of the liver disease a transplant would have cured. Too much thinking for them, I guess :-(
keeperofthekeys 12th-Nov-2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
Uh, my marijuana knowledge is pretty weak, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't cause hepatotoxicity.

Someone correct me if I am wrong.
wrestlingdog 12th-Nov-2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
shirozora 13th-Nov-2009 12:10 am (UTC)
This is horrible. Stupid and horrible.
kinetichearts 13th-Nov-2009 01:06 am (UTC)
Ugh, that is so messed up.
schonste 13th-Nov-2009 01:15 am (UTC)
lostwiginity 13th-Nov-2009 02:00 am (UTC)
Does that mean they give you a transplant when you have Hepatitis C, but not when you use marijuana? Cos I thought that'd be the actual hurdle with a medical commitee.
vitaminvi 13th-Nov-2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Hep C is so scary to me.

Poor guy. I wish there was more cohesivesness in Medicine.
akuma_river 13th-Nov-2009 04:30 am (UTC)
Doctor perscribed drug is doctor perscribed drug that should not effect transplant candiacy at all unless it WILL (not can, not might, not 'but it's bad for you' but WILL) cause organ failure. And in this case, smoking a joint is less of a medical issue than drinking.

This is fucking bullshit.
noein9 13th-Nov-2009 08:06 am (UTC)
Because living in pain and malnutrition would have made a world of difference to his overall condition to receive a liver transplant. See, it would have been better to be on more poisonous pain relievers, you know, like Vicodin.

Oh, wait...
cheatpolygraphs 13th-Nov-2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
wait a second, I'm on Vicodin right now. please enlighten me.
ipromiseuiwill 13th-Nov-2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Not that I don't think its stupid, but in the transplant community, if you smoke anything, drink, have eating disorders, anything considered "unhealthy" or "irresponsible" in some way, they won't do a transplant. Its like the episode of House where they would've denied the bulimic's heart transplant if they knew she was bulimic.
sephirajo 14th-Nov-2009 05:05 am (UTC)
This is a bit different because it was a legally prescribed pain killer.

How he took it shouldn't have mattered.
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