Hospitals Make Hurricane Transplant Possible

Because of Hurricane Katrina, a Louisiana woman is in a Houston hospital waiting for a liver transplant. How she got from New Orleans to Houston is a story of two hospitals, two helicopters and a jet ambulance.

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Until Sunday, the unidentified woman was planning to get her transplant at Oschner Medical Center in New Orleans. Then Hurricane Katrina knocked out the electricity, and the hospital went on emergency power, but unable to do transplant surgery. The woman's doctors arranged to move her to Houston and Memorial Hermann Medical Center, where Assistant VP Tom Flanagan says they had to meet the New Orleans helicopter halfway -- in LaFayette Louisiana.

The New Orleans helicopter rendezvoused with the jet from Memorial Hermann in LaFayette at midmorning. The jet then made the 40 minute flight to Houston Hobby airport, where they were met by a Life Flight Helicopter, which took the woman straight to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Flanagan confesses he's a little dazzled that they were able to make it happen so quickly and so smoothly.

The woman is now resting comfortably in a hospital where a transplant can be done, as soon as a compatible liver can be found for her.