On Saturday afternoon, we received a call for a transplant patient flight. We took Katrina and her 12 year old daughter Katrael, who was in need of a double lung transplant, from Detroit City Airport (DET) to Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Airport (AGC). They wanted them at AGC by 6 p.m. We told the mission coordinator it would be tight but We’d do the best we could.
Flying with a “lifeguard” (air ambulance) call sign we were airborne from DET at 4:40 and landed AGC at 6:07. This was good time as the actual surgery wasn’t expected to start until 11 p.m. They needed her at the hospital about 4 hours prior for prepping.
I spoke with Katrina the next day. She was most appreciative of our help getting them there. They were both nervous but both enjoyed the flight. Katrina told me that Katrael was prepped and at about 8:30 p.m. was ready to go into surgery when the transplant surgeon came out and told them that unfortunately the organs were not viable and Katrael would be unlikely to survive with that transplant. Her mom said they were a bit upset, and the doctor was obviously feeling very badly about this situation. Katrael looked at the doctor and said, “It’s o.k., it’s o.k.”. He then gave her a hug. Quite a touching scene. So, they headed home and are now awaiting another call. Her dad had driven there and arrived at 8:30 p.m. so that was their transportation home. They arrived home at 2:30 Sunday morning
Katrael is a really sweet and sharp girl. She is 12, but has the maturity of a sixteen year old. She had lots of questions while we were flying and took over my iPad (which has the flight charts) for awhile. She’s been through seven previous surgeries but none like the double lung transplant (which will be a10 hour procedure). She is on oxygen 24/7 and has a pretty high flow rate. The small cylinder (same size as the one in my plane which will last me about 20 hours) lasts her about two hours. They brought four cylinders with them and her mom changed them when needed.
We are all anxiously awaiting her next “match” and hope that happens soon and she makes it to Pittsburgh on time and the surgery goes well!