Over the weekend, a young man passed away after he was denied a lung transplant, which could have potentially saved his life, after he tested positive for marijuana.
Refusal of transplant:
20-year-old Riley Hancey passed away at around 4 p.m. following complications from a double lung transplant in Pennsylvania, after his home state refused to perform it, according to his father Mark Hancey.
Riley was surrounded by several members of his family when he died, including his father, mother and two aunts.
A fundraising website called YouCaring was set up to raise funds to help with Hancey’s medical expenses. The Hanceys confirmed the news of his death there as well, writing:
“It is with heavy hearts, we are devastated to announce that Riley Hancey passed away from complications of a lung transplant. We are extremely thankful to all the wonderful doctors and staff at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Utah for their expertise and care that Riley received. We would also like to thank the donor family, who in their own grief chose to save a life. We will never forget your kindness and generosity.”
Back in December, Hancey was admitted into the University of Utah, but he was denied the transplant after tests found traces of the main ingredient in pot, THC, in his system.
According to Mark Hancey, his son was drug-free for a year but smoked some pot with his friends over Thanksgiving.
In an interview with KSL.com, Mark Hancey said: “It’s not like he’s a smoker for 30 years and [had] deteriorating lungs because of that.”
However, the hospital’s policy is to not transplant organs to patients who have “active alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drug use or dependencies,” according to the hospital’s spokeswoman Kathy Wilets, who also said that this policy is aimed at giving patients a better chance at surviving the surgery and finishing their recovery process successfully.
Angelic medical staff:
After the refusal, the Hanceys looked for other hospitals that would do the operation and found the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, which is 2,000 miles away. Hancey had his double lung transplant there on March 29.
Mark Hancey had nothing but praise for the hospital’s medical staff and the medical care his son received there, saying: “If you could talk about angels, [the UPenn] medical staff, they are a group of angels. From the physicians down, I just couldn’t believe it.”
Hancey caught a severe pneumonia which later turned into a rare lung infection which landed him in the intensive care unit of the University of Utah for 68 days.
According to his relatives’ statement on the YouCaring page, he had received “every opportunity to survive.”
A statement was posted on the site about Hancey that read: “He will live in our hearts forever. “Riley is now free to climb every mountain, ski the back country, go fishing, and run every river. He will continue to do so with his family in spirit. In his honor, we ask that you take a moment to do a random act of kindness for someone. Riley’s kind spirit, laughter, and smile will be deeply missed by all that knew him.”