Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Lindy McDowell: How transplant gift almost turned to tragedy

Roller-coaster of emotion is one of the grand clichés of the age. But it’s a pretty apt phrase nonetheless to describe what the family of a liver transplant donor on this side of the Irish Sea and the recipient in England must surely have gone through at the weekend.

The liver was being flown from Belfast to Birmingham in a Cessna plane with the pilot and one other man aboard when disaster — or near disaster — struck.

The light aircraft crashed as it attempted to land at fog-bound Birmingham airport.

The pilot and his passenger were injured, though thankfully both survived.

The crash however, could still potentially have cost a life — that of the man awaiting the liver transplant.

Fortunately the organ was recovered unscathed and was delivered, on the back of a police bike, to the hospital unit concerned.

It’s an amazing and poignant story with a relatively happy outcome which will surely be all the more comfort to the brave family who made it all possible.

The family who agreed to the organ donation.

Over 6,000 people had their flights delayed at Birmingham as a result of the crash.

An inconvenience for them.

But in this instance inconvenience is very much a relative term.

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