While the heart's delivery did not go as planned, doctors were still able to use the organ in a life-saving transplant operation

By Jason Duaine Hahn
November 10, 2020 06:24 PM
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A patient at a California hospital received a life-saving organ transplant last week, along with quite a story to tell.

On Friday afternoon, a transport helicopter carrying a donor heart to Keck Hospital of USC in Los Angeles crashed as it attempted to land on the building's roof.

The incident was filmed by a bystander on the ground, whose video showed the aircraft lose control just a short distance from the hospital's helipad.

Fortunately, the helicopter landed on its side, and no one in the area was seriously injured, including the aircraft's two passengers and its pilot, who suffered minor injuries, according to the BBC.

Firefighters who responded to the scene were able to recover the organ from the wreckage and hand it off to hospital employees, CW affiliate KTLA reported.

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Helicopter crash

But just as the day looked to be saved, the heart was sent crashing to the ground after a medical worker carrying it tripped while walking across the roof, a slip that was caught on video by KTLA.

"I can see that happening because there's a lot of debris that's on the landing pad itself," a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesperson told the news station.

Despite the mishap, the heart remained in good condition and was used for a transplant operation later that day, according to the hospital.

"On Friday, Nov. 6, at approximately 3:15 p.m., a helicopter crashed on the helipad on the roof of Keck Hospital of USC," Keck said in a statement. "The passengers aboard the helicopter are being treated locally. Nobody on the ground or in the hospital was injured and patient care has not been disrupted."

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"Keck Medicine is working closely with the Los Angeles Fire Department and Los Angeles Police Department to manage and investigate the incident," the hospital continued, in part. "The helicopter was carrying a heart for transplant. The organ is currently being safely transplanted."

About 20 people each day die awaiting organ transplants, according to the American Transplant Foundation, and there are over 114,000 people currently on the waiting list to receive a life-saving organ.

One donor can save up to eight lives, and can save or enhance the lives of a hundred others, according to the foundation.