When Erika Hernandez heard that a match had been found and that she would be getting a much needed heart, she was ecstatic. However, she may not know her heart was laying on the ground just moments before the transplant surgery.
After the surgery, Erika’s doctor, Dr. Jaime Saldivar, told reporters that his patient was not yet aware that en route to the hospital her donor heart had fallen out of the cooler.
The transport began with a tragic car accident that claimed the life of 20-year-old Rafael Gomez in Guanajuanto. Being a donor and a match, the man’s heart was put on ice in a cooler and headed the 280 miles to Mexico City where Erika, 28, and her doctors were waiting.
From the originating hospital, the heart traveled by ambulance to a plane, and then to a helicopter. The transport was going off without a hitch until a medic stumbled and knocked the lid off the cooler containing the heart. The heart, which was thankfully wrapped in protective plastic, then fell out and landed on the ground.
Video of the incident shows medics quickly picking it up and pushing it back into the cooler before continuing into the hospital where Erika was being prepped for the life-saving transplant.
Erika’s doctors said they thought it best to go ahead with the surgery and say they are waiting before they call it a successful operation.
After her surgery, Hernandez spoke with reporters to promote organ donation and thanked the donor’s family saying, “I have no words to express what I’m feeling right now.”
The now viral heart drop occurred two weeks ago.
Erika was released from the hospital Wednesday, and the doctors told her family that it is up to them to tell her about the drop or not.