Illinois state troopers help deliver donor heart for transplant surgery after vehicle transporting medical team gets a flat

by Editorial Team

Hearts were racing in more ways than one.

A car carrying a surgeon, medical student, and transplant coordinator got stuck with a flat tire on a Chicago highway Tuesday night, forcing law enforcement to spring into action. The team from University of Chicago Medicine had recently procured a heart and was traveling back from Midway Airport when “the vehicle became disabled,” according to a press release from the Illinois State Police.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to transplant surgery,” Ashley Heher, a University of Chicago Medicine spokeswoman, said in a statement.

“There is about a four to six hour window of time for a heart to remain viable for surgery and the team had already been traveling for approximately three hours.”

Doctors were successfully able to transport the heart and complete the surgery thanks to the help of a pair of state troopers who responded to their distress call.

Officers David Cibrian and Raymond Snisko, who graduated the Illinois State Police Academy together in 2018, responded to I-55 just after 4 a.m. and “immediately realized it was a time sensitive situation.” While they transported the medical team and its precious cargo, the Illinois Department of Transportation arrived and fixed their flat tire.

“Our District Chicago troopers were able to turn a potentially bad situation into a thankful ending for at least one family this Thanksgiving holiday. I am extremely proud of our officers who acted without hesitation in this life saving transport,” interim Capt. Angelo Mollo said in a statement.

“I am equally proud of the hard work all of our Troopers do each and every day in keeping our roadways safe and those hearts that travel upon them even safer.”

The recipient of the donor heart is currently recovering from the procedure.


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