No mountain too high for organ transplant recipient picked up by helicopter

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Rio de Janeiro: When it comes to organ transplants, every second counts.

That is why Brazilian firefighters said they took a helicopter to the top of a mountain in a national park in the south-eastern state of Rio de Janeiro to tell Ricardo Medeiros de Oliveira they had found him a much-awaited kidney.

Oliveira, a 48-year-old tourist guide who had been waiting for a transplant for nine years, was hiking in a remote mountain area at 2280 metres earlier this month when he received a notification informing him that a compatible organ had become available.

Given the urgency of the transplant and the difficulty of access – a descent on foot would have taken at least four hours – workers at the clinic where he had been undergoing dialysis requested help from the fire brigade which decided to pick him up directly.

“He would have lost this organ if he had not gotten to the hospital in time,” firefighter spokesperson Major Fabio Contreiras said.

Organ transplant recipient Ricardo Medeiros de Oliveira was picked up from atop a mountain to make it to surgery on time at the Santa Casa de Misericordia hospital in Juiz de Fora, Brazil.

Oliveira was able to arrive in time at the hospital and his surgery succeeded.

“It was a huge mix of emotions, I didn’t know whether to laugh, whether to cry, whether to believe,” Oliveira said.

“[That was] the greatest adventure of my life.”


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