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Heart transplant opportunity lost after flight is cancelled mid-air due to US storm


A resident of Alaska has lost the opportunity to receive a heart transplant after his flight was cancelled mid-air due to bad weather. Patrick Holland, 56, has congestive heart failure. Often referred to simply as heart failure, the NHS describes it as a long-term condition that gets worse over time, meaning “the heart is unable to pump blood around the body properly”.

Mr Holland recently received a call from the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle to inform him that a match had become available from a donor.

Mr Holland told CNN it was initially “terrifying news to hear” but went on to say he was “excited” to have the opportunity to get a transplant.

The hospital explained that Mr Holland had an eight-hour window to get to the facility in order for the transplant to be carried out.

After racing to the airport with his brother, Mr Holland was informed that his first flight had been cancelled due to the terrible weather conditions currently affecting the US.

However, after explaining the circumstances to airport staff, he was rebooked onto another flight.

Unfortunately, four hours into the journey, an announcement was made over the internal system that instead welcomed them to Anchorage, Alaska.

Mr Holland has a Facebook page that details his transplant journey, and it put out a post just before 6am local time saying, “Patrick just called. They turned the plane around and are landing in Anchorage.”

“The storm was too bad in Seattle. I will update again when I know more.”

READ MORE: Death count rises to at least 60 as worst ‘monster’ US storm in decades batters states

All flights at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport had been grounded due to the bad weather, meaning Patrick Holland’s flight had been re-routed in the air.

While Mr Holland tried to get on another flight from Anchorage, the bad weather prevented any from taking off.

At that point, Mr Holland told his brother: “I know I’ve lost it, I know I have.”

The hospital then reached out to inform Mr Holland that they would have to give the donor heart to another recipient.


Mr Holland said: “She was calling me back to tell me they were going to give the heart to somebody else.”

“I think I cried more that day than I have in my life and had exerted every emotion that I’d never had.”

Though understandably upset, Patrick Holland remains optimistic about the experience, saying, “To get out of that funk, I immediately said, ‘Thank God, there’s going to be a family that saving someone’s dad saving someone’s brother, saving someone’s, someone’s uncle.”

Mr Holland is now understood to be looking for a place to stay in Seattle to facilitate quicker transport, saying: ‘I will be closer, there’ll be no storms to stop me.”

“It would take a completely different act of God to stop me.”




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