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alcohol hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver

Jan 8, 2001

My son fell ill in France and has been in the hospital there for three months. He was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and alcohol hepatitis. He is not getting better and since he or no one in our family speaks French we can ask no questions or learn of his progress. We are all becoming ill due to stress and worry and my son cries every time I call begging to come back home to his family and the USA but he is to weak to make the trip. I would appreciate so much any information I could get about his diagnoses and what we should expect and if it's typical to take so long for any improvement to be seen. We know this is very serious but thats about all. Please can you or someone you know tell us anything about this, and what to expect, good and bad. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Bonnie (Marc's mother)

Response from Dr. Pavia

I cannot tell from your question if your son is HIV infected or if the cirrhosis may be related to HIV or Hepatitis C. It is always scary and frustrating to try and learn about a loved one's condition when they are far away, and worse when there is a language barrier. It can be hard to get the whole story even if you are there. It is unlikely you are getting the details now.

I cannot make any concrete suggestions since I don't know where your son is or what type of hospital he is in. Here are some general ideas. Contact the state department, or check their web site to find the nearest US consulate. By contacting them, they may be able to refer you to an English-speaking doctor at the hospital, or help you find out what needs to be done to arrange for a return home. Having your son's U.S. doctor contact the French doctors may help. E-mail can be very helpful for busy doctors separated by a large time difference, and medical language when written, as well as lab results can transcend language barriers. Good luck and I hope you are together with your son soon.


Andrew T. Pavia, M.D.

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