A young man who died of liver failure after taking paracetamol-based painkillers had a history of alcohol and substance abuse, an inquest heard today.
Alexander Lawson, 25, of Chyngton Close, Eastbourne, was described as ‘one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet’ by friend Robert Mclean, who called 111 when Alex became unwell on May 28 last year. He was taken to A&E at Eastbourne General Hospital and was transferred to a specialist intensive care unit at Kings College Hospital in London but died on June 16 from acute liver failure. An inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall heard Alex had a habit of binge drinking on paydays and occasionally took cocaine, some of which was found in his blood. He also had a history of drinking up to 20 to 30 units a day for the previous two years but had been referred to support and counselling services, attended AA meetings and had reduced his alcohol intake. His sister Kirsten Lawson, who attended the inquest with her mother, gave a written statement read by coroner Alan Craze. In the statement, she said Alex had been ‘on the road to change’ and he was a kindhearted person, who had once given away a whole suitcase full of clothes: “He wasn’t just my brother, he was my best friend. He had a smile that would light up the whole room.” She said the family attended A&E with Alex and were advised to leave and get some rest but were not told he might have liver failure, or notified later that he had been put on life support, for which Eastbourne General Hospital had apologised. Before becoming severely unwell, Alex had taken cocodiamine painkillers, a mix of paracetamol and codeine. Although his family and friends told the inquest the painkillers were within the recommended dosage, coroner Craze explained that his damaged liver was unable to process the painkiller in the same way and the effective dosage would have been higher. He recorded a narrative verdict of alcohol and paracetamol abuse.