Hospital Denies Utah Teen Of Undergoing Lung Transplant After Posistive Marijuana Test; Teenager Nearly Dies

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald April 14, 10:13 am
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Riley Hancey in a photo at the hospital. He was denied a spot for the lung transplant list because he tested positive for marijuana days before he was diagnosed of pneumonia. l
(Photo : Barbara Alexis/YouTube)

A hospital reportedly denied a Utah teenager to undergo a lung transplant after he tested positive for marijuana. Due to the hospital's refusal, the teenager nearly died.

The teenager, 19-year-old Riley Hancey, suffered a severe form of pneumonia since Thanksgiving. Due to his condition, his lung collapsed, as per the fundraising page set up for him. They added that Hancey lost all the gas exchange function of his lungs, hence, the reason why he needed lung transplant. He was even on life support for a whole month.

Days before his hospital admission, CBS News reported that the teen smoked marijuana. The teen's family said that he is a healthy adolescent that loves to travel. Unfortunately, he smoked marijuana on Thanksgiving night with his friends. They added He did not smoke any drug or used any substance for a whole year before smoking pot with his friends during that day.

Meanwhile, the hospital involved in the incident was the University of Utah Hospital. The staff reportedly denied the teen to have a spot on the transplant list.

"She (the doctor) was willing to let him die over testing positive for marijuana," Hancey's father Mark said in a statement. "That is what shocked me."

According to reports, there are no federal laws regarding the use of marijuana among people who need to undergo an organ transplant. To qualify for a lung transplant, the recipient must fall under the guidelines developed by the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation. The patient should not have any of the following: a malignancy in the last two years, untreatable advanced dysfunction of another major organ system, non-curable chronic extrapulmonary infection, significant chest wall or spinal deformity or absence of a consistent or reliable social support system, ATS Journals revealed. 

The hospital said in a statement that they do not have a specific policy regarding marijuana use but active use of alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drug use or dependencies are absolute contraindications. Until these issues are addressed, they will qualify as recipients.

It was unclear what took place and why the hospital changed their stand on letting Hancey undergo a lung transplant. He received his new set of lungs on March 29.

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