Published: 27-12-2023 11:13 | Updated: 27-12-2023 11:48

Peter Jonson needed a liver transplant

Peter Jonson needed a liver transplant after unexpectedly learning that his liver was in poor condition. Today he is doing well and does not miss the lifestyle that made him sick. "Non-alcoholic beer tastes really good", he says.

Peter Jonson, photo: Martin Stenmark
Peter Jonson, photo: Martin Stenmark

Text: Annika Lund for the magazine Medicinsk Vetenskap nr 4 2023 / Spotlight on the liver

Peter Jonson has been a blood donor since he turned 18. But in 2019, when he went to donate blood, his blood values were too bad. After being referred around, he ended up with a liver doctor who told him that his liver was in bad shape. 

“I was very surprised; I hadn’t the slightest inkling. The doctor told me to stop drinking alcohol immediately, and I did. It wasn’t hard at all – I didn’t have an addiction”, he says. 

He had been drinking alcohol mainly in connection with his job, which used to involve a lot of hospitality and social gatherings. That meant evenings at which an aperitif, wine with the meal, an after-dinner digestif with the coffee, and beer after the meal were par for the course. 

“That level of consumption is above what’s recommended, but also very common in social contexts. I never drank alcohol when I was lonely or sad, but those nights were enough to make me sick. Of course, no one forced me to drink, so it’s my own fault. But occasionally it makes me angry that this behaviour is so accepted, and sometimes even hard to avoid”, he says.

For Peter Jonson, living with liver disease meant repeated hospitalisations with severe infections. He suffered several bouts of pneumonia, several cases of sepsis, and severe COVID-19. He also got very confused on several occasions, to the extent that his wife had to call an ambulance. 

In the end, he was considered for a transplant. After just six days on the waiting list, he was told they had found him a liver. 

“The surgery went very well and I feel fine now. Since the transplant in 2020, I’ve worked full-time and haven’t had any infections. They analysed my old liver after the operation, and assessed that it only had 15 to 20 per cent function left. I understand that I was close to death”, he explains. 

Nowadays, Peter Jonson doesn’t touch alcohol. 

“No one who knows my story question it, but some folks ask me if it’s boring not to drink. My answer is that it’s nice to always be able to take the car and that non-alcoholic beer tastes really good”, he says. 

Peter Jonson
Occupation: Negotiation ombudsman at IFMetall.
Had a liver transplant for alcohol-related reasons, which is one of the most common causes of liver