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Teenager deprived of lung transplant after smoking marijuana

Riley Hancey is a 19 year-old boy who was hospitalized after Thanksgiving due to a severe form of pneumonia that resulted in his lungs collapsing, according to CBS.

As stated in a YouCaring fundraising page, he “lost all gas exchange function of his lungs due to scarring, as a result of the infection.”

Hancey needed a double lung transplant. His family says the fact that he tested positive for THC – the chief intoxicant in marijana – prevented him from getting a spot on the transplant list at the University of Utah Hospital.

His family described him as a „healthy teen” who is keen on summer and winter sports. He worked for his brother at a ski resort and enjoyed travelling.

According to his father, Riley Hancey smoked marijuana on Thanksgiving night with his friends, but had been drug-free for a year before getting sick.

In a statement given to CBS, The University of Utah wrote:

“For heart and lung transplant, we follow guidelines set by the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT). For liver, kidney and pancreas transplant, we follow guidelines set by the American Society of Transplant Physicians. We also evaluate cases individually. The reason for these guidelines is that we have a responsibility to ensure our patients have the best possible outcomes and that we are good stewards of the rare resource of the donated organ.

“Generally speaking, we do not transplant organs in patients with active alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug dependencies or abuse until these issues are addressed, as these substances are contraindicated for a transplant.”

Hancey’s family searched for another hospital that would provide their son with the life-saving transplant. Two months ago, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania agreed. At the end of March, Riley Hancey received a new set of lungs.

Daisy Wilder