New liver costs patients R450000

A new liver costs about R450000, says Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang - the recent recipient of one herself.

A new liver costs about R450000, says Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang - the recent recipient of one herself.

In a written reply to a question by IFP's Ruth Rabinowitz in the National Assembly, Tshabalala-Msimang said hospital expenditure on liver transplants was about R450 000 a patient (all-inclusive).

Rabinowitz wanted to know whether excessive drinking was "a huge cost to the country". Her question was in regard to road accident deaths, damage to women and children in domestic violence and hospital spending on liver transplants.

Tshabalala-Msimang said her department had no information on the cost of loss of life in accidents due to excessive alcohol intake.

"Alcohol levels are at times requested for non-natural death investigations. But the cause of an accident is not determined by the department of health, just the cause of death," she said.

According to the Medical Research Council (MRC) figures for 2005, blood alcohol concentrations BAC were available in only 38,2percent or 8988 of the 23,541 fatally injured people. Of these, 4657 were positive for BAC.

These deaths include those resulting from violence, suicide, transport collisions, "other unintentional" causes and "undetermined" causes.

Of the 6783 people who were fatally injured in "transport collisions", BAC concentrations were available in 38,8percent or 2635 of the cases, with 1365 being positive.

Regarding the cost of liver transplants due to excessive drinking, Tshabalala-Msimang said her department did not have information on the diagnosis of patients for this, as the information was confidential. -Sapa

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