Woman's simple mistake while battling flu leads to liver failure

How many times have you taken over-the-counter medication when you have a cold or the flu?

Stephanie Soriana did just that when she got sick in January and now doctors are warning people about how to treat flu symptoms.

Soriana is a busy mom and when she got the flu, she started taking medicine to knock out the illness.

"I was taking Tylenol during the day, toward the evening as well. And then at nighttime so I could sleep I took Nyquil. Then I would wake up around two to three in the morning and take Theraflu as well," said Soriana.

Although everything she took would work on cold symptoms, they all had one common ingredient - acetaminophen - and after several days of taking over-the-counter remedies, Soriana began to feel worse.

I was coming in and out of conscious. I wanted water very badly, but I couldn't make it to the bathroom or to my kitchen to grab anything. I had almost lost my mind at that point, I didn't know where my phone was luckily I had my daughter's tablet nearby and I messaged him I need an ambulance right away," said Soriana.

Doctors say Soriana had unknowingly poisoned her liver.

Ordinarily acetaminophen is a safe and effective drug, but the Food and Drug Administration has warned that too much can damage liver function.


In Soriana's case, doctors say the amount she was taking was slowly killing her liver cells to the point where it had just ceased to function.

Unresponsive, Soriana was rushed to the hospital where her family and friends got the bad news - she needed a transplant.

"So Thursday night is when they put her on the list. They told us all the worse case scenarios about it could be months may not be able to find a match," said Ben Beams, Soriana's boyfriend.

But there was a match. A donor liver was found in Philadelphia.

The donor saved Soriana's life and her doctors say her recovery after the transplant is astounding.

A simple mistake almost cost her life and she's grateful for that second chance and the family that gave her so much.

"Thank you - it's a gift like none other. I've always been an organ donor myself but you never really sit there and think that such a big ordeal can definitely happen to you," said Soriana.

The FDA changed its acetaminophen guidelines just last year. The agency now recommends that you take no more than 3,000 milligrams of acetaminophen products in a day.