By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4)– Dustin Cuzick reports for KKTV-TV, the CBS affiliate in Colorado Springs. He also has end-stage kidney disease and needs a kidney and pancreas.

Cuzick has been on the transplant waiting list for a year now waiting to have a transplant at Porter Adventist Hospital.

“Every year that you are on dialysis your odds of surviving get worse” says Dustin. “I was facing a 2½ year wait but some people are facing a five or 10 year, even longer wait.”

Porter Adventist Hospital is suspending organ transplants for at least six months while they restructure and hire more staff. That means people like Dustin, now have to find a new hospital to perform their procedure, and that’s not easy.

Dustin explains, “It’s almost like getting into a college. You don’t just go to the hospital and get on their transplant list.”

He knows this could delay him getting the transplant he needs, “It is a matter of time, so it’s upsetting to know that I’ve lost that time.”

Alyssa Johnston, the vice president for solid organ transplants at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital, says she understands patients’ concern.

“We’re getting them in as fast as we can. We’ve increased our staffing levels to be able to handle this and move people through quickly,” said Johnston.

Patients who were part of Porter’s transplant program will not lose their spot on the transplant list, but their status will be inactive. That means that if the opportunity for transplant comes up they won’t be eligible.

“It’s essential that they contact a transplant center and we get them activated as soon as possible,” said Dustin.

In the meantime, Dustin has already started looking for a new hospital, but it may be a while before he finds a new transplant program.

“I called UCHealth and they said it would be probably three weeks before someone even called me back.”

LINK: Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.

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