The family claims that the hospital denied the transplant to the teen because they found traces of marijuana in the 19-year-old's system. His condition worsened extremely quickly, especially for someone so young, and he was on life support in need of a double lung transplant within days.
"[The doctor] was willing to let him die over testing positive for marijuana", Mark told BuzzFeed. "This is what shocked me", Mark Hancey told BuzzFeed, referring to the doctor.
Mr Hancey says that his son doesn't usually do drugs, but had some weed after Thanksgiving dinner when he met up with an old friend.
"It's not like he's a smoker for 30 years and (has) deteriorating lungs because of that", Mark Hancey said.
Marijuana can stay in the system for about a month after use but tends to exit the system faster for infrequent users.
The University of Utah Hospital could not comment on Hancey's case specifically but told CBS News that they use different guidelines for the transplantation of different organs based on the difficulty of the surgery, the risk of rejection and the ability of a patient to adhere to a strict post-operative care plan.
"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". As BuzzFeed reports, there are no federal laws or even recommendations on the use of cannabis which is legal in some form in almost half of U.S. states today among people who need organs. It has been ok'd for a very narrow range of patients who suffer from seizures.
Riley Hancey was denied a life-saving lung transplant by the University of Utah Hospital, according to his family.
Recently, the University of Utah denied Riley Hancey's request for double-lung transplant on the basis that he is addicted to marijuana.
Riley Hancey is surrounded by family and friends.
"He looked so healthy. He's still fighting and he's doing well".
"He looked so healthy", said Mark.
Riley was taken to the hospital without wasting any further time.
Some of the Utah teens created a page on YouCaring to raise funds for Riley's treatment. The page has raised more than $23,000 of a $50,000 goal and is still collecting donations.