International media outlets are reporting that two medics in Mexico carrying a transplant-bound heart stepped off a helicopter, stumbled, and dumped the cooler and its contents onto the street.
The heart, which had been flown from Leon, Guanajuanto to the Centro Medico de Enfermedades Reumaticas in Mexico City, unceremoniously exited its carrier, and flopped out onto the pavement, reports the UK's Daily Mail. Horrified medics rushed to get the heart back into the cooler, along with the organ-preservation solutions that had slipped out with it.
The poor medics (who have been highly ridiculed ever since), must be mortified, but no more so than the recipient, who it was confirmed, was prepped for surgery at the medical facility and awaiting the transplant. The director of the hospital, Falcony Rodrigo Lopez, eventually confirmed to local media that the transplant went ahead as planned and had been a success.
For those wondering how dire the situation might have been for the organ recipient had the heart been damaged, surgeons typically do not remove the patient's existing heart until the new organ has entered the building. Even a failing heart is better than no heart and all potential hiccups are accounted for. Just this past December for example, a helicopter from the Mayo Clinic carrying a medical team on a mission to retrieve a donated heart, crashed en route killing heart surgeon Dr. Luis Bonilla, procurement technician David Hines and the pilot.
Dr. Robert Page, a doctor in Phoenix who helped to found Med To Go International, said back in March that major hospitals in Mexico City, "actually put our hospitals to shame sometimes." Page, who has traveled all over Mexico, analyzing the medical care has done extensive research on organ transplantation in the country. He says that in terms of "speed and cost", Mexico is the place to go.
As for the poor medics who dropped the heart, let's cut them a little slack. Granted, the incident could have yielded detrimental consequences of epic proportions, but medics are human too. It wasn't a medical mistake, it was an accident. The medics might do well to remember the words of English explorer Edward Whymper, "Do nothing in haste, look well to each step," but in their misstep, both are now destined to relive the undesirable event for the remainder of their careers. Punishment enough?
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