Revelations reported yesterday about Human Headline turned crucial Senate vote Derryn Hinch’s fondness for a tipple caused a bit of a stir.
His ex and former Sky News producer, Natasha Chadwick, let fly on Twitter about Hinch being well and truly off the wagon, and the Herald-Sun made it a front page lead. The good senator himself, while calling Chadwick a ‘bunny-boiler’, didn’t really deny her comments about his drinking more than the odd watered-down wine.
If Derryn was a normal healthy bloke this would have just been another broken celebrity relationship gone publicly sour. But he isn’t: Hinch is Australia’s best-known organ transplant recipient. He’s only been with us for the last five years because he is using someone else’s liver.
Hinch is an ebullient bloke, whether or not one agrees with his views on naming and shaming paedophiles and treating himself as above the law (however as much of an ass the law may be). He’s charming and convivial company, and interviews with him are disarming conversations. But he’s way mistaken in seemingly taking the great gift of life he’s been given for granted by giving his donated liver an alcoholic pounding.
Every day Hinch lives is thanks to an anonymous person who, in death, has given life. The living liver inside him is not a possession to be battered and strained, but a great trust he has been given by someone he never knew. To not treat that donated liver kindly by living as healthily as possible is to discount and disrespect the ultimate gift given to him by the donor and their grieving family.
What’s more, Hinch is thumbing his nose at taxpayers who have underwritten his gift of life to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. For it’s we who fund organ transplant services, the removal and delivery of Derryn’s liver at breakneck speed across the country to be transplanted, the highly complex and costly surgery that installed it in its new home, and the expensive anti-rejection drugs that help keep it, and Derryn, going.
In return for the donor and taxpayer’s generosity, transplant recipients have an obligation to look after their life-saving organ and cherish that great gift. Disappointingly, it seems Derryn has neglected his part of the bargain.
Organ donation is a social contract between donor, taxpayer and patient. If Derryn is enjoying a drink or three too many, putting strain on his donated liver against medical advice and common sense, it’s now up to him to stop, think, and put down that glass of Grange and never pick another one up. If he won’t do it for himself, he should do it out of respect to the person whose final great act of generosity allows him to be here, at the centre of public life, elected to put the interests of others ahead of his own.
Please stop putting s*** on your liver, Derryn. You owe it to yourself, you owe it to all of us, and above all, you owe it to your anonymous donor.