August 20, 2019 9:02 pm
Updated: August 20, 2019 9:25 pm

Surrey man in need of transplant says he’s caught in life-or-death ‘catch-22’ because he’s overweight

WATCH: A Surrey man says he's caught in a "catch-22", having been taken off the lung transplant list because he's overweight. Nadia Stewart tells us why he says he can't lose weight.


A Surrey man says he’s caught in a life-or-death “catch-22” and hopes BC Transplant will reconsider his case.

When Brock Hinchberger was rushed to hospital in 2014, doctors discovered a blood clot in his lung.

“I just came home from work one night and I had a little pain and by the time I got here, I could barely get out of the car,” he said.

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It was only the beginning of his health woes. Next came the cellulite infection and pneumonia. In 2016, he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Hinchberger only has 23 per cent of his lung function. His last hope is a double lung transplant.

But when Hichberger’s wife Sandra Adamson inquired about the wait time days ago, she received some shocking news.

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“They said he’s not on the list and we’ve closed his file…because he’s overweight, his BMI [body mass index] is too high,” Adamson said.

They were never told his file had been closed, she said, so they didn’t know they were waiting in vain.

For the last three years, Hinchberger has been following BC Transplant’s instructions to lose the weight, including a 1600-calorie-a-day diet and medication to help keep his airways open, but there is one key obstacle.

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“We’ve got him on the diet…but he can’t exercise because he doesn’t have the lung capacity to exercise,” Adamson said.

BC Transplant would not speak specifically to Hinchberger’s case. In an email, it said a number of factors for transplantation are considered throughout the assessment process, though it’s still unclear what factors ultimately disqualified Hinchberger.

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“The list was one of the things we were striving for,” he said, adding he tried to get into an exercise program, but was turned down because his heart rate was too high.

Adamson is hopeful BC Transplant will reconsider her husband’s file.

“If you don’t have the lungs to help you exercise, to help you lose the weight, then how do you lose it?”

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