Hello and thanks for stopping in today. I’ll warn you right now, this isn’t my usual blog post, as the subject matter may be both controversial and sad. But I feel it needs to be said.

Some of you may recall that in March Brad and I took a trip to Philadelphia to attend The University of Pennsylvania Medical School Match Day. Our flight from California to Philly required a change of planes and a layover in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Flying Into Salt Lake City | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

While we waited for our connecting flight we started a conversation with a very friendly fellow who occupied the seat next to us in the lounge. As it turns out, the gentleman was also traveling to The University of Pennsylvania Medical School, but for far more sobering reasons. He was going to visit his 19-year-old son who was in Intensive Care, awaiting a double lung transplant. What was doubly ironic, his son had recently been transferred to UPenn Med from The University of Utah Medical Center, the very place where we recently spent a week by our own son’s bedside after he broke his back while skiing in Park City.

WHY I'VE BEEN M.I.A. | University of Utah Medical Center | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The man’s son had contracted a very rare and severe form of pneumonia over the Thanksgiving holiday that left him needing a double-lung transplant. However, incredulously, The University of Utah refused to put this otherwise very healthy 19-year-old on their transplant waiting list because they found traces of marijuana in his system. They told him to get ready to die. Hearing this his parents started frantically looking for a hospital that would agree to give him a lung transplant. That hospital turned out to be The University of Pennsylvania, one of the most experienced lung transplant programs in the world.

UP IN SMOKE | Riley Hancey being transported to UPenn Med | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Hearing this story from a distraught but hopeful father, I simply could not believe that a young person could be left to die because he had engaged in the smoking of pot on occasion!  I’m not a pot smoker, nor am I necessarily a pot advocate. But as the mother of 3 sons, 2 of whom are in college, I know that many of our youth in this day and age are using pot. To think that one of my sons might be denied a life saving treatment because he smoked marijuana would be simply unimaginable.

UP IN SMOKE | Riley Hancey & Parents | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Image Via

The good news is that shortly after we met and talked to Mark Hancey, his son Riley underwent lung transplant surgery at The University of Pennsylvania. The very sad news is that Riley Hancey died on April 24th of complications from that surgery. My heart goes out to his family & friends and to his father, the friendly, outgoing, high spirited man whose company we enjoyed in an airport lounge. I hope that this case will help bring attention to a hospital policy that in my view needs to be changed. Read more about Riley’s case here and watch this news report video below.

What do you think?

So There You Have It: UP IN SMOKE

Thanks so much for dropping in! 

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission.