Philadelphia, PA

Gravely ill patient' last hope; a marathon got in the way of a transplant organ's delivery,then this surgeon took action

Pete Lakeman

From New York to Philadelphia, the driver carrying some precious cargo, a human liver, had made good time. That was until he ran into thousands of runners trying to beat a different clock. The athletes were on full throttle competing in the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon. Unfortunately for the driver, and the gravely-ill patient, time was not on their side.

Out of an unbreakable determination, and a bit of luck, the stars aligned. “Clad in sneakers and teal-colored hospital scrubs, Jefferson transplant surgeon Adam Bodzin dashed out the hospital door and ran roughly half a mile to meet the driver, darting through the stream of runners to collect the organ packed in ice.”

I’d personally call it more than going the extra mile. Dr. Bodzin, the specially-sealed box in hand now, carried it past curious onlookers and hitched a ride in a police car he had hailed on his way to meet the delivery driver. It’s still unclear why the driver was unable to make it through the human traffic despite trying for an hour and a half, which increasingly put the organ at risk for deterioration. The hospital had communicated with race organizers about providing access points along the route for hospital-related traffic.

It speculated that having an out-of-town driver and “Philly’s grid of one-way streets, half-blocks, and diagonals” contributed to the delay. The surgery proceeded without a hitch, and three months on, the patient is doing fine. The patient, Charles Row had been on the liver transplant waitlist for 15 months after complications from hepatitis. He calls Dr. Bodzin a hero.

Disclaimer: This article was written for educational and informational purposes only.

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I'm credentialed social studies and biological sciences teacher with over twenty years of classroom experience. I'm an avid gardener and tech DIYer and I love nature walks.

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