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If Your Heart Drops Pick It Up and Brush It Off Then Maybe Tell the Transplant Patient

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by editor

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In The News

It's one of those things that makes hearts drop: Donor organs don't come easy but one was pitched after a 280 mile trip to the hospital--via three vehicles. It wasn't air or ground transport responsible for dropping the organ slated for transplant. Two left feet were apparently involved, when a medic literally tripped to chuck a donor's heart streetside on pavement. The vital organ that hit the ground still made it into a hair stylist's chest. Maybe someone should tell her.

The young hair stylist who received the organ in what became a very successful heart transplant surgery, crazily enough, is unaware of the 'trip' involved with the organ. She's got a new heart that was literally dropped on pavement. Perhaps the docs don't want to upset their new patient too much at this point. They're leaving it up to family to tell her.

The organ was slated to go the distance: The donor heart was transported all the way from Guanajuato state to Mexico city, in a trip involving about 280 miles that included far more than a plane, train and automobile for transit. The heart got rapid transit via ambulance, plane -- and even a helicopter. And all went smoothly.

That is, until literally the final leg of the journey that actually involved legs -- and apparently two left feet on behalf of at least one medic. Similarly to the theory that car accidents tend to occur close to home, the heart took a leap -- from its cooler -- within steps of the medical facility holding the awaiting organ recipient. The dropped heart may not have made it into the news at all, had it all not been on video. Footage showed rushing medics trying to shove the heart back into the cooler before continuing onward.

Ironically, before the fiasco, Mexico City police had described the slated trip for organ delivery as a "rapid, precision maneuver." It may have been rapid but those last steps proved to be lacking some precision.

It all happened two weeks before the surgery -- and all is still well. After the heart hit the street, doctors in Mexico had confirmed the organ transplant had still been completed -- but added the docs or hospital wanted to wait, for any confirmation as to whether the operation had been deemed successful. It's an odd statement since lack of 'success' is rather obvious.

And if hospitals or physicians are typically responsible for clarifying any potential medical issues to their own patients, apparently that isn't the case in at least one Mexican facility: Mexico City patient Erika Hernandez isn't yet aware that at lease one medic, who encountered some agility issues, managed to toss her soon-to-be inserted, (and thankfully) plastic-wrapped heart on the ground. The organ somehow got pitched out of its cooler in transit, while two medics were responsible for its wheeling.

The 28-year-old heart recipient talked with the media briefly enough to express extreme gratitude for the organ, the woman needing a heart transplant after suffering from a life-threatening and congenital heart defect. Hernandez says: "I have no words to express what I'm feeling right now." She may have had at least a few words to express feelings had the heart -- received from a donor in a traffic accident fatality -- been a goner, all because of a medic misstep or two.

And -- considering the idea that doctors may not know exactly whether the organ could have experienced some unknown damage in the fall -- she may still have a few words.


Mexico City
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