Weather chaos – man misses his heart transplant – Health

He has eight hours to fly from Alaska to Seattle. When his flight is canceled due to the weather, the donor heart goes to someone else.

Patrick Holland had only been on the transplant list for a new heart a few weeks when he received a call from the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle last Thursday that a match had been found. The 56-year-old Alaskan man, who has congestive heart failure, was due to have a new heart.

“It was terrifying to hear the news that I was going to have a transplant, to be honest. I was scared,” Holland said on Thursday to CNN This Morning.“And then I got excited.”

Congestive cardiomyopathy includes heart muscle disorders in which the ventricles (the two lower chambers of the heart) enlarge but are unable to pump enough blood around the body. This leads to heart failure.

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Only eight hours time

The man only has eight hours to fly to Seattle for the procedure — so he immediately books an overnight flight and rushes to the airport. There he learns that the flight has been canceled due to the violent storm that hit most of the United States last week. Holland explains his situation to the airport staff and is booked on the next flight. However, that flight has to be diverted halfway through due to ice blocking the Seattle runways. Something Holland only notices after landing.

“I panicked,” says Holland, “because the longer it waits, the longer the donor heart tissue will degrade.” Shortly thereafter, he gets the call that the hospital would give the heart to someone else. Holland is trying to keep things positive and is glad another person’s life was saved over the weekend.

Holland documents his life around the transplant on Facebook:

Being able to keep up with his seven children again

Being on the transplant list gives the man a chance to get a new organ. Since suffering a “massive heart attack” at the age of 29, he has had a number of heart-related complications. The 56-year-old hopes to use the surgery to help keep up with his seven children, aged 3 to 36, and his wife.

He wants to find temporary housing in Seattle so he doesn’t miss another chance at a new heart. “We want to be better prepared for the second call”, says a post on a Facebook page. “The first call came in two and a half weeks. The next one could come anytime, or it could be weeks or months away.”

Waiting for a suitable donor organ

Waiting for an organ transplant isn’t as simple as “pick a number and wait your turn,” explains it United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)the equivalent of the European Eurotransplant.
“The waiting list is more of a huge pool of patients,” the website says. “When a deceased organ donor is identified, UNOS’ computer system ranks transplant candidates for each organ. UNOS matches people awaiting life-saving transplants with compatible donor organs.” Organs require special preservation methods to remain viable. For the heart and lungs, the maximum organ preservation time can be around four to six hours, while the kidneys can range from 24 to 36 hours, so die Organisation.

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