Frank Geren can't have a second liver transplant because Medicaid officials contend he neglected his health when he was younger.

He has lost three-quarters of his liver function, but when he went back to Medicaid, his request for coverage was denied.Officials of the taxpayer-supported program said he didn't take all the necessary medicine to protect his first transplant. And, medical advisers said he was an unacceptable risk because of drug and alcohol use.

Geren, 19, said he tried vodka and marijuana only once, and that was before his transplant, back when he was 15 and living in Washington. He never would have confided in his doctor if he had known it was going to be written on his medical chart, he said.

Geren and his mother also argue that a pharmacy lost records proving he did pick up his anti-rejection drugs.

His only real problem, he and his family contend, was bureaucratic red tape.

So for two weeks he went without the $50-a-day-immunosuppressant drug. That's when his health started going downhill again, he said.

His mother, a respiratory therapist at McKay-Dee Hospital, can't come up with $200,000 for her son's medical bills.

Her son was the third liver transplant candidate to be turned down by Medicaid this year.