Dr Paul Gow is a Liver Specialist at Austin Health and Chaired LiverWELL’s Liver Health Advisory Committee in 2018
Tell us about yourself and your relationship to LiverWELL
For the last 25 years I have worked in liver health as a gastroenterologist, specialising in hepatology. My days mostly involve treating people in need of liver transplantations at the Austin.
I was aware of LiverWELL’s work for a long time, but first engaged in a professional relationship a couple years ago when it was still known as Hepatitis Victoria. Since then, I have provided clinical input into the broadening of LiverWELL’s scope to include all liver health.
How did you get started in gastroenterology?
As medical students we rotate through many specialties, and I loved my 12 weeks doing gastroenterology. Looking after patients with complex medical problems was incredibly rewarding and academically interesting. On placement I would see people go from dying to having their lives saved through receiving a transplant – they could then go on to live another 20 years.
Why are you passionate about advocating for liver health?
Fatty liver disease has become very common, but there is a general lack of advocacy for the condition. Most gastroenterologists can tell you a lot about fatty liver disease. But almost everyone else, even those walking around who have it, know nothing.
It is important for people to be aware that they may have a disease they’ve never even heard of or been screened for. The whole thing is treatable and reversible with the right health advice. Recognition of the need for preventative medicine for liver health is increasing, but there is still a big space to be filled in by organisations such as LiverWELL.
Dr Paul’s message to others…
If you are slightly overweight, read up on fatty liver disease. Speak to your GP and get a liver function test. The time to do something about your liver health is now – while you still can – instead of waiting until you’re in trouble.