They were waiting for an organ transplant. Then their program shut down

Dustin Cuzick, 35, uses a peritoneal dialysis machine at home every night. He was one of 232 patients waiting for an organ transplant at Porter Adventist Hospital, which temporarily shut down its transplant program.

Story highlights

  • A Denver hospital is suspending its transplant program for six to 12 months, citing staffing issues
  • Unless patients find a new transplant center to accept them, they won't be able to receive an organ during this time

(CNN)When the hospital called, Dustin Cuzick thought it might just be routine paperwork, but he had also been hoping for good news: that a friend had been cleared to donate a kidney for him.

"I was kind of waiting for the call from them saying, 'Hey, she's a match. Let's do this.' And now I know that's not gonna happen," said Cuzick, a 35-year-old reporter for Colorado Springs' KKTV 11 News, a CNN affiliate.
    The call, it turned out, was to let him know that the hospital where he hoped to get a new kidney and pancreas was temporarily shutting down its transplant program. This time, he found himself on the other side of a news story.
    Cuzick, who has end-stage kidney disease from Type 1 diabetes, is among the 232 patients of Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver who must find a new program if they want to remain eligible for a transplant while that program is inactive. And patients like Cuzick, who took upward of four months to get approval from Porter in the first place, don't know how long it will be before they're accepted by one of two other transplant programs in the area.
    "I feel like I put all my eggs in one basket," Cuzick said.