Donor Heart Recipient Unaware It Was Dropped on the Street

Jan 25, 2012 12:01pm

The donor heart dropped on the ground by medics in Mexico as they rushed to deliver it to the hospital has been successfully transplanted into the woman awaiting its arrival.

The woman, 28-year-old Erika Hernandez, has no idea about her new heart’s bumpy background.

Hernandez, who was born with a congenital heart defect, received the new heart this week, nearly two weeks after one of two medics transporting the heart from a helicopter to the hospital accidentally knocked the lid off of the cooler that contained the heart inside.

The organ, wrapped in yellow plastic, spilled out and lay briefly on the ground before the medics hastily put the heart back into the cooler and ran inside the hospital.

abc dropped heart jef 120125 main Donor Heart Recipient Unaware It Was Dropped on the Street

ABC News

The episode was captured on camera by reporters outside the hospital who had followed the heart step-by-step on its 280-mile journey from Guanajuato state to Mexico City.

The head of Mexico’s Institute of Social Services said at the time the drop did not affect the organ and that the procedure would continue.  Doctors said they would wait, however, to confirm the transplant until they were sure it had been a success.

On Tuesday, the doctor overseeing the transplant, Dr. Jaime Saldivar, said the medical team was leaving it up to Hernandez’s family to decide when to tell her of her new organ’s origins.

 

 

A cheerful looking Hernandez gave a thumbs-up sign as she left the hospital in Mexico City on Tuesday.  She also spoke briefly with reporters to express her gratitude to the donor’s family.

“I have no words to express what I’m feeling right now,” she said.

Hernandez’s new heart came from a man who died in a car accident.

ABC News’ Mikaela Conley and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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