(NPR) — Dr. Elliot Tapper has treated a lot of patients, but this one stood out.
“His whole body was yellow,” Tapper remembers. “He could hardly move. It was difficult for him to breathe, and he wasn’t eating anything.”
The patient was suffering from chronic liver disease. After years of alcohol use, his liver had stopped filtering his blood. Bilirubin, a yellowish waste compound, was building up in his body and changing his skin color.
Disturbing to Tapper, the man was only in his mid-30s – much younger than most liver disease patients.
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