Forgotten human heart prompts Southwest flight to return to Seattle

Forgotten human heart prompts Southwest flight to return to Seattle

A nonstop flight between the cities can take close to two hours.

A Southwest airlines plane flying from Seattle to Dallas was forced to turn around midflight after the crew found a human heart onboard that should have been delivered to a Seattle hospital.

In a statement to USA Today, Southwest referred to the organ on flight 3606 as "a life-critical cargo shipment" that was "intended to stay in Seattle for delivery to a local hospital".


The heart, which had been on an earlier flight from Sacramento to Seattle, was not removed from the plane as it should have been. He said the carrier made the decision to head back because it was "absolutely necessary to deliver the shipment to its destination in the Seattle area as quickly as possible".

A doctor on board the flight - who had nothing to do with the heart - said the incident was a "horrific story of gross negligence".

The airline didn't say how long the plane had been in the air when the organ was discovered. Someone forgot to unload the heart before the plane left for Dallas, and the captain announced over Idaho that the flight was turning back.


Others became concerned after reading that hearts were only viable for transplant for a few hours. While the heart was likely needed for a transplant, its exact objective is not known. Parts of a heart, such as valves, can be recovered when whole heart transplants aren't feasible.

Are organs usually transferred by commercial airlines?

.

A passenger on the flight told the Times that his fellow passengers were initially stunned by the news.


"We sincerely regret the inconvenience to the customers impacted by the delay", the spokesperson said. "There's a time limit to get where it needs to go".

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