The only thing keeping Patrick Barker from getting new lungs is an address — or lack of one.
Barker, 56, who is homeless, is breathing with lungs that function at 20 per cent, but his name won’t go onto the B.C. transplant list until he has a home address.
His monthly $900 disability cheque isn’t enough to put a roof over his head.
“(B.C. Transplant) wants someone that wants to live … somebody that’s going to make use of (the lungs),” he said.
“I’ll admit, I feel kind of lost right now with no place to live. But … I really want to live. I’ve got a 20-year-old son. My parents still love me.”
Barker has been staying at the Salvation Army’s Caring Place in Maple Ridge, but the shelter’s cold-weather beds are closed and he’s not sure where he’ll end up.
He said it’s also not as easy as simply knocking on his family’s door.
“There’s a little bit of pride involved there. Do I want to go beg hat-in-hand to my son? My parents are in their 80s. They’re not really in a position to look after me.”
Allison Brown, a spokesperson for the B.C. Transplant Society, said patients need a support network and a healthy place to recover post-surgery.
“We have to make sure those organs don’t reject and make the best out of a very limited resource.”