Weather forces Aer Lingus flight to be used to transfer heart from Kerry for transplant

Organ brought via charter flight to Mater Hospital in Dublin

The Mater Hospital in  Dublin requested transfer of heart from Kerry General Hospital. Picture: Bryan O’Brien

The Mater Hospital in Dublin requested transfer of heart from Kerry General Hospital. Picture: Bryan O’Brien

 


A human heart had to be transported to Dublin on board an Aer Lingus regional flight from Co Kerry yesterday due to bad weather.

The airline responded to an emergency request to transfer the heart to the Mater hospital in Dublin after it was decided turbulence and other weather factors would have prevented air ambulances from landing at Farranfore.

The request came from the aeromedical co-ordination centre run by the Health Service Executive and involved the transfer of a heart from Kerry General Hospital to the Mater.


Air ambulance mission
The Air Corps, which is one of a number of services that provide air ambulance services, confirmed it was asked to investigate the possibility of an air ambulance mission from a regional location but weather factors prevented it from responding.

“In line with standard procedures, Air Corps standby crews were consulted. However, the severe weather conditions including turbulence and high cross winds made any mission impossible overnight,” the Air Corps said in a statement.

Travelling by road would have taken over four hours and was not an option, according to reliable sources.


Flight delayed
The scheduled 7.30am flight from Kerry was used instead and it was delayed slightly to facilitate the arrival from Kerry General Hospital of the heart, which was accompanied by hospital staff.

Arrangements were made in Dublin for the aircraft to be met by an ambulance to enable transfer to the Mater without delay.

The public service obligation flight between Kerry and Dublin, which is financed through grants from the State and the EU, is coming to an end of its three-year term this year. A campaign was launched yesterday to retain the flight.