After an uphill battle to obtain a life-saving double lung transplant, a 20-year-old man has sadly died from complications following the procedure.
Riley Hancey was just 19 years old when he was first admitted to the University of Utah Hospital. A simple case of the flu had transformed into full-blown pneumonia. Hancey reportedly went on to develop a rare, life-threatening infection that left his lungs so scarred, he needed to be placed on life support for 30 days.
The family was told Hancey would die without a lung transplant, but when a blood test revealed a trace of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in his system, he was denied a spot on the organ transplant list–even though sources say that there are no federal regulations regarding cannabis use in would-be transplant recipients.
As recently reported, a University of Utah Hospital spokesperson stated that they, “do not transplant organs in patients with active alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug use or dependencies until these issues are addressed, as these substances are contraindicated for a transplant.”
The young man had reportedly not smoked cannabis for a year prior to becoming sick with pneumonia, but Hancey’s family was not deterred and found a hospital willing to perform the transplant. While it took some time, after two months of searching, they ended up at The Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, and Hancey was able to receive his double-lung transplant. Sadly, complications following the procedure led to the young man’s untimely end.
As reported, “It has been a long battle to save Riley’s life. We know that in our hearts we gave him every opportunity to survive. He will live in our hearts forever. Riley is now free to climb every mountain, ski the backcountry, go fishing, and run every river. He will continue to do so with his family in spirit,” the family said in a statement.