Illinois troopers help save a heart for surgery after organ transport vehicle breaks down

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DES PLAINES, Ill. -- Two Illinois State Police troopers helped deliver a heart that was needed for surgery after the vehicle transporting it broke down.

WGN reports Trooper Cibrian and Trooper Snisko responded to a call of a motorist assist around 4:15 a.m. Tuesday on northbound Interstate 55 at Throop Street.

Upon arrival, the troopers learned the disabled vehicle was an organ transport vehicle, carrying a University of Chicago surgeon, a transplant coordinator and a medical student — along with a donated heart.

Realizing this was a time-sensitive situation, the troopers immediately transported the medical staff and heart to the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Police said doctors were able to successfully perform the surgery in a timely manner.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to transplant surgery,” stated Ashley Heher, Director of Media Relations for UChicago Medicine. “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 3 hours,” she said.

The transplant patient is recovering.

Trooper Cibrian and Trooper Snisko are ISP Academy classmates and graduated the Academy in Aug. of 2018.

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