A critically ill man in Chennai was literally saved on a wing and a prayer after a beating heart was flown in from Madurai and reached him in the nick of time. The 48-year-old Pune resident, suffering from a rapidly deteriorating heart muscle disease called cardiomyopathy, was admitted in the hospital three weeks ago. On Wednesday, a 29-year-old died in Madurai after a serious car accident.
In a noble gesture, the road crash victim's family consented to donating his heart, kidneys, liver and eyes. As soon as the Chennai hospital heard of this, it flew a team of doctors to Madurai to harvest the man's heart. The medical team then contacted Air India to find if they could Fly the harvested heart to Chennai at the earliest. AI had a scheduled Madurai-Chennai-Mumbai Flight (AI 672) and offered to Fly it out of Madurai as soon as the medical team was ready to go.
"We completed boarding of passengers much ahead of schedule. As soon as the medical team arrived with the heart, they were immediately rushed to the waiting aircraft. The plane took off as soon as they boarded, 18 minutes ahead of schedule," an AI official said.
Air traffic control at Madurai and Chennai ensured that the plane did not face any delays either at the tarmac or in air and reached Chennai, 19 minutes ahead of schedule. The Chennai Police provided a traffic corridor to the medical team to ensure it reached the hospital's operation theatre from the tarmac in 10 minutes flat.
The Pune resident got the heart transplant in time and is learnt to be recovering. The accident victim's kidneys were given to two patients in Madurai and his liver was also sent to Chennai.
An AI official said: "Our station manager in Madurai received a call from the local Meenakshi Mission Hospital at 11.20am about the possibility of airlifting a live heart in deep freeze condition to Chennai by AI-672. All arrangements were made and the two-member team of doctors, besides two accompanying passengers along with the live heart in deep freeze condition came to Madurai Airport at 1.15pm. The station effected a quick turn around and the Flight departed at 1.42pm, 18 minutes ahead of schedule. The Flight landed at Chennai and came to the Bay at 2.41pm instead of the schedule timed of 3pm. All assistance was provided at Chennai airport by Air India officials to rush the heart to the hospital."
Eesha Rohida [ MBA Mktg ]
Aviation News Editor