Friday, January 25, 2019

Kidney transport: a Tesla and a flat tire

Transporting kidneys can be surprisingly informal.  Here's an account of a Tesla, a flat tire, and hitching a ride.

Good Samaritan drives stranded surgeon, donor kidney to Pa. hospital

"Dr. Martin Wijkstrom had two jobs to perform Wednesday evening: Drive a donor kidney from Pittsburgh to Erie, Pa., then implant the organ in a patient at UPMC Hamot.
“I had already picked up the kidney at a Pittsburgh hospital and had just charged my Tesla in Cranberry Township,” said Wijkstrom, a UPMC transplant surgeon. “I was driving to get back on (Interstate 79) to go to Erie when I struck a pothole.”

"The pothole caused one of Wijkstrom’s tires to go flat. He was stuck in the Cranberry Mall parking lot with a donor kidney, 108 miles from the hospital where a patient waited to receive it.

"His Tesla didn’t carry a spare tire. Though the kidney was secured in a refrigerated container in Wijkstrom’s trunk, the surgeon had about 12 hours to implant the organ for the best chances of success.

“It wasn’t an emergency situation but we needed to put the kidney into the patient as soon as possible,” said Wijkstrom, who said he had transported kidneys in his car three or four previous times.
"Brad Dostlik was driving his Nissan Sentra near the mall, listening to his portable police scanner.
He heard a dispatcher send police to the surgeon’s car and notify them about the kidney. Dostlik, who was headed to the nearby Field & Stream store, decided to see if he could help.
“He asked if I could take him to Erie,” Dostlik said. “I had a full tank of gas, so why not?”
“I learned a lot of stuff during the trip,” Dostlik said. “I don’t think I could do what he does.”
"The two men shook hands and the surgeon walked into the hospital with the donor organ, just 40 minutes later than expected.

“The surgery was uneventful,” Wijkstrom said. “The patient is doing well, his kidney is making some urine already.”

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