Two Mexican medics were likely breathing a sigh of relief yesterday after a heart they dropped on the ground while transporting it to hospital was successfully transplanted.
The medics were roundly ridiculed in the press and online following their mishap, which was caught on camera by journalists following the heart's journey from donor to recipient.
The heart was on its way to a hospital in Mexico City – travelling by ambulance, private jet and then a helicopter to reach 28-year-old Erika Hernandez, who was in urgent need of a transplant.
Mexico City police had described the operation to deliver the heart as a "rapid, precision manoeuvre".
Video footage of the final leg of the journey shows the two men collecting a cooler containing the heart from a helicopter and running towards the hospital.
In their haste to deliver the precious cargo, the men drop the cooler – and watch in horror as the heart rolls on to the concrete, together with a saline bag and some ice. They then sheepishly stuff the bag back into the container and continue with their sprint towards La Raza hospital, as watching television cameras captured every moment.
Luckily, the operation was a success, and Ms Hernandez was discharged from hospital yesterday. Doctors had already announced that the transplant operation had gone ahead, but had wanted to wait to confirm it had been successful.
The doctor overseeing the transplant, Dr Jaime Saldivar, said he was leaving it up to Ms Hernandez's family to decide when to tell her of her new organ's precarious journey. He said of the incident: "It was a trip on one of the potholes on the road. Its arrival was a bit scary but fortunately it all went well, because we had the heart perfectly protected as it was packed in three layers."
A rosy-cheeked Ms Hernandez spoke briefly with reporters yesterday and thanked the donor's family, saying: "I have no words to express what I'm feeling right now."
"I cannot believe that I'm still here and well. It is thanks to the person who donated the heart I can be here," she added.
Ms Hernandez was born with a congenital heart defect. She received a heart donated by 20-year-old Rafael Gomez, who was declared brain-dead after he was involved in a car crash.Reuse content