A young man from Utah, who made headlines after he was refused a lung transplant because traces of marijuana were found in his system, has died, according to a report from the Salt Lake Tribune.
Although Riley Hancey was eventually given a second chance, receiving approval for a double lung transplant that the hospital in his home state would not authorize because he tested positive for THC, he died Saturday afternoon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, just one week after celebrating his 20th birthday. He was surrounded by his mother and father, as well as other family members, who called the hospital staff “angels” for the level of care they offered Riley before his passing.
The whole rotten situation began last year, around Thanksgiving, when Hancey came down with a severe case of pneumonia than landed him in the University of Utah. One of his lungs had collapsed, and he spent two weeks on life support, before it was determined that he would need an organ transplant to survive. The only problem was Hancey did not qualify for a set of new lungs because he had apparently smoked marijuana at some point within the past 30 days. Only small traces of THC metabolites were discovered in his system, yet hospital officials said it was against the rules to provide transplants for patients with “active alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drug use or dependencies.”
It was then that the Hancey family began to scour the planet for a hospital that would do the transplant. That journey led them to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, roughly 2,000 miles from their home in Park city.
Riley underwent a double lung transplant at the end of last month. Unfortunately, his body was just not strong enough to make it successfully through the recovery process.
“It is with heavy hearts, we are devastated to announce that Riley Hancey passed away from complications of a lung transplant,” the Hancey’s announced on its YouCaring fundraising site. “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.”