CHENNAI: Despite traffic clogging NH-4 near Sriperumbudur, two ambulance drivers successfully transported a heart, a kidney and a liver from Vellore to two separate hospitals in Chennai in just over 90 minutes with police vehicles escorting them throughout the 133 kilometer drive from CMC, Vellore - the hospital where the organs of a 23-year-old donor were harvested on Monday afternoon.
The drivers began their drive from Vellore at 5.40 pm. One of the ambulances reached Madras Medical Mission hospital in Mogappair at 7.10 pm. The other ambulance reached Global Health City hospital in Perumbakkam a little earlier.
The Madras Medical Mission ambulance driver, who transported the heart along with the harvest team led by Dr Anbarasu, said that there were a few anxious moments, “The police escort was with us the entire distance and we were making good time on the highway, but near Sriperumbudur there was a large line of cars blocking the road,” said the driver, M Saravanan. Despite the police opening two separate green corridors, the evening rush hour caused a traffic jam with employees wending their way home from office.
A Highway Patrol vehicle also helped the ambulances find a clear path. “They quickly cleared a path through the remaining traffic and all the signals had been switched to green, so we managed to make it without losing too much more time,” he said. Post harvest, hearts have excellent survival capability for 4-6 hours. They managed to transport the organ in a fourth of that window of time.
“I’m just happy we made it. The last heart I drove was given to a patient from Royapuram and I was told that he went back home and is happy with his family. I hope God is kind to this person as well,” he added thoughtfully.
The heart is being transplanted to a 32-year-old techie working for Polaris, who developed heart trouble a year ago, “His condition worsened three weeks ago and he was urgently in need of a transplant for survival. That is why he was allotted the organ when a match came up, even though it was in Vellore,” said a MMM spokesperson. The transplant is expected to take 4-5 hours and will end by midnight. The second ambulance headed toward Global Health City in Perumbakkam, where the liver transplant team were on standby - waiting to receive the organ and begin the arduous process of transplanting the organ.
The donor, Arun, son of a daily wage labourer in Vellore, succumbed to injuries he sustained when a two-wheeler rammed into him as he was chatting with a friend standing on the roadside.