Illinois State Police troopers responded to a motorist assist on Tuesday, November 26th at approximately 4:18 a.m. on I-55 northbound in Des Plaines, Illinois. Upon arrival, the troopers realized that the disabled vehicle was an organ transport vehicle with a flat tire. The vehicle was transporting a recently procured heart and three people from the University of Chicago Medicine – a surgeon, a transplant coordinator, and a medical student, who were traveling from Midway Airport back to the University of Chicago Medicine’s Hyde Park campus, when the vehicle became disabled. The Troopers immediately realized this was a time-sensitive situation and without hesitation they transported the three people and the donor organ to the academic medical center. The Illinois Department of Transportation minutemen also arrived and remained on scene to repair the flat. The Troopers safely completed the transport of the heart, making it possible for the doctors to perform the surgery in a timely manner.
Hearts only remain viable for transplants 4 to 6 hours outside the human body. The surgical team had been travelling approximately 3 hours, according to ISP’s Office of Media Relations. A spokesperson from the University of Chicago said the transplant recipient is recouping fine from surgery.
ISP is also taking this time to remind people about Scott’s Law when they see a stationary vehicle by the side of the road and slow down and move over whenever possible if there is a stationary vehicle on the side of the road with emergency flashers on.