Man Initially Denied Lung Transplant For Pot Use Dies

PARK CITY, Utah (AP/KDKA) – A man who was denied a lung transplant at the University of Utah because marijuana was found in his system has died after suffering complications from recent surgery.

Reports say 20-year-old Riley Hancey of Park City died Saturday from complications with a double lung transplant he received four weeks ago at the University of Pennsylvania hospital.

“It is with heavy hearts, we are devastated to announce that Riley Hancey passed away from complications of a lung transplant,” a statement reads on the fundraising site YouCaring.

Hancey was just 19 when he was hospitalized right after Thanksgiving after coming down with a severe form of pneumonia that caused his lung to collapse.

After being turned down for a transplant in Utah, Hancey’s family searched for another hospital that would do the life-saving operation. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania performed the procedure on March 29.

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University of Utah Medical Center says it doesn’t transplant organs for people with active alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug use.

His father said the teen had smoked marijuana on Thanksgiving night with friends but had been drug-free for a year before he got sick.

In a statement, Hancey’s family thanked the doctors and staff at both University of Pennsylvania and the University of Utah hospitals, as well as the donor family.

“It has been a long battle to save Riley’s life,” Hancey’s family said. “We know that in our hearts we gave him every opportunity to survive. He will live in our hearts forever.”

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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