Good Samaritan drives stranded surgeon, donor kidney to Pa. hospital

SOUTHCOAST TODAY | David Bruce Dr. Martin Wijkstrom had two jobs to perform Wednesday evening: Drive a donor kidney from Pittsburgh to Erie, Pa., then implant the organ in a patient at UPMC Hamot.

Transporting the kidney proved more difficult than transplanting it.

“I had already picked up the kidney at a Pittsburgh hospital and had just charged my Tesla in Cranberry Township,” said Wijkstrom, a UPMC transplant surgeon. “I was driving to get back on (Interstate 79) to go to Erie when I struck a pothole.”

The pothole caused one of Wijkstrom’s tires to go flat. He was stuck in the Cranberry Mall parking lot with a donor kidney, 108 miles from the hospital where a patient waited to receive it.

His Tesla didn’t carry a spare tire. Though the kidney was secured in a refrigerated container in Wijkstrom’s trunk, the surgeon had about 12 hours to implant the organ for the best chances of success.

“It wasn’t an emergency situation but we needed to put the kidney into the patient as soon as possible,” said Wijkstrom, who said he had transported kidneys in his car three or four previous times. Continue reading

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