A British teenager being treated for liver failure after a binge-drinking session left his hospital bed to go to the pub, according to one report.

Still in his slippers, holding the needle of a drip in his hand and wearing his hospital name band, Garath Anderson tried to order a pint at the bar.

The 19-year-old, who doctors say could have just two weeks to live, was recently transferred from Ulster Hospital near Belfast to a specialist liver unit at Kings College Hospital in London.

His father, Brian Anderson, is planning to launch a judicial review to try to overturn NHS guidelines which mean his son has to be alcohol free for six months before he can get a liver transplant.

Staff at the Old Moat Inn opposite the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald revealed that last week they refused Garath's order, alerted the hospital and took him back.

"He was very young and didn't look very well," bar manager Lorraine McMillan said. "He asked for a pint or possibly a vodka. He was refused a drink and he said that was OK he would take a coke."

Garath suffered acute liver failure earlier this month after drinking 30 cans of lager on a weekend and had to be rushed to hospital.

Although it is common medical practice in the UK to insist that liver patients go without drinking for six months before going on the transplant waiting list, it is only a guideline and not a rule.

Garath's father insists the policy should apply to older patients with chronic alcoholism, not a teenager who has never before needed medical treatment for a drink-related illness.

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