A Durham student was hospitalised yesterday after her New Year’s resolution to give up alcohol resulted in liver failure.
Denise Fowler, of Van Mildert College, had sworn off the drink after a New Year’s party ended with her face down in a puddle somewhere near Swanage.
“I thought it was sensible, turning over a new leaf and all that, making sure I would live to see my 25th birthday. How wrong I was.”
Last Sunday evening, Denise was sitting at home with a glass of tap water and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream. At approximately 8.20pm, she lost consciousness.
“It was terrifying,” said Martin Renson, her housemate who called the emergency services. “We were sitting there, and all of a sudden, she turns pale as a sheet and keels over. The glass she was holding fell in slow motion, and when it hit the floor it was like an explosion of something.”
Denise was rushed to hospital, when the doctors quickly diagnosed the condition as alcohol withdrawal and hooked Denise up to an alcopop drip.
“It’s a common condition at this time of year,” said Dr Faustus. “We see it a lot, although I’ve never seen such a severe case. Basically, the liver gets into a routine of processing alcohol, and if you drink enough, it works continuously to keep the body functioning. If you go cold turkey, the liver can’t cope: it continues functioning at optimum capacity without anything to process. Eventually, it just gives up. It’s lucky we caught Denise when we did: a couple more days and her prognosis would not be positive.
“We’re working now to get her liver up and running again. This means a daily dose of alcohol to get it back in the routine. With luck, she should be up and imbibing in no time.
“My only advice to anyone else thinking of swearing off the drink: don’t do it. In the long run you can do far more damage to yourself and those around you. How? I don’t know, I’m just saying what Jack Daniels paid me to say; look, I’m not even a real doctor. You think this is a lab coat? It’s just a bed sheet with arm holes.”