‘He’s abusing a piece of my brother’
THE family of the man whose organs saved Derryn Hinch's life are furious he's broken his promise never to drink again.
The Senator and talkback radio star was fighting a losing battle with liver cancer when the Gardner family decided to donate him the organs of their brother and son in 2011.
Kimberly Gardner contacted Hinch, who is a self-confessed alcoholic, and they became friends. He was just two weeks away from death when Heath Gardner's liver saved his life.
It was a beautiful gesture, and made for a heartwarming story.
Until Hinch started drinking again.
"I'm very disappointed and disgusted in the choice that he's made to continue to drink alcohol," Kimberley told A Current Affair.
"He was so lucky to get the operation to get the transplant in the first place and for him to abuse the gift he's been given is outrageous."
She said it was "upsetting" to think he was polluting her brother's liver.
"It just makes me think that he doesn't appreciate what he's been given at all and taking for granted," she said.
"He's been given a piece of my brother and he's now abusing that completely."
She was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt at first, but now says he's broken a promise.
"Last time he drank, I thought it was a once-off. But now, it's been put into concrete that he isn't respecting it."
Senator Derryn Hinch dismissed criticism he was disrespecting his liver donor's family after admitting to drinking two glasses of wine before hitting his head exiting an Uber.
The 74-year-old took a tumble as he stepped onto St Kilda Rd in Melbourne - suffering a "minor brain trauma" - and was kept overnight in The Alfred hospital for observation.
"I am embarrassed by it. You shouldn't wear a knee brace and Cuban heels at the same time, but I've done it before," he told reporters on Thursday. "Thank goodness the Uber driver and a passerby called an ambulance, which was here in four minutes. I was unconscious, knocked out, big lump on the back of my head.
"The next thing I knew, I was in The Alfred hospital with lots of tubes coming out of me and metal studs on me for the heart and stuff. They kept me in overnight for observation."
He was well enough to fly alone to Canberra on Wednesday for a War Memorial event.
Speaking outside his Melbourne home, Senator Hinch said he had not been drunk on Monday, blaming his bad knee, for which he wears a brace, and tiredness for the fall.
"I'm very appreciative to the family of my donor and I've met them many times over the years," he said.
"I'm eternally grateful for it. I didn't have a drink for five years. "Until I am lying on the slab for the last time, I am here to live my life to the best I can and to the best of my ability. I swore I would never drink again, but you have got to live your life."
Despite having a liver transplant in 2011, Senator Hinch said his doctors had cleared him to have a few drinks.
"I have a couple glasses of wine a couple of times a week, I water it down," he said.
"I won't water down a glass of Grange, that's a pledge."
He will have a heart monitor fitted on Thursday to find out if his heart played any part in his collapse.