Belfast Telegraph

Plane crash liver 'saved patient'

A transplant patient "would certainly have died" without the donated liver that was involved in a dramatic plane crash, the surgeon who performed the operation has said.

The organ was on board a private Cessna that crash-landed on the tarmac in foggy conditions at Birmingham Airport after arriving from Belfast on Friday.

Two men on board were injured and the airport was shut until noon on Saturday while investigators probed the cause of the accident.

But the liver was not damaged and the transplant was carried out successfully at the city's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Friday night.

Simon Bramhall, consultant liver transplant surgeon at the hospital, said: "Without a liver transplant the patient would certainly have died."

The recipient of the donated organ, who has not been identified for reasons of patient confidentiality, was listed as a "super urgent", meaning they were among the sickest patients on the liver transplant list anywhere in the UK and would get offered every potentially suitable liver.

"Patients who are on this list only have a matter of days to survive, so in this particular instance it was crucially important that the donor liver was used and has functioned successfully," Mr Bramhall said.

It was "pretty amazing" that the liver made it to the hospital in a perfect condition, he added.

"The liver is an amazing organ when it's in the human body and has enormous resilience but obviously once you've taken it out of the body then it's exposed to the elements," he said.

"It was reasonably well-packaged as one would normally package an organ in a fairly sturdy box which is insulated and surrounded with ice, but one doesn't normally expect the donor organ to be put through quite the effects that this organ had to go through."

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