Helicopter Delivers Transplant Organ for the First Time in Quebec

November 29, 2007

On Aug. 29, 2007, AirMédic opened its new base serving the Montreal area at Mirabel, Que. Above: Gaston Lepage, Jean-Sébastien Schick , and François Rivard.

Nov. 29, 2007, Montreal, Que. - A six-month old girl at Montreal’s Hôpital Sainte-Justine received a new heart by helicopter last week, a first in Quebec.
The precious organ arrived just after 10:00 a.m. on Nov. 19, 2007, when a Dauphin AS-635, operated by Air Médic , landed on the Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf football field, located directly in front of the hospital. Thanks to the Air Médic helicopter, the organ arrived from Ottawa in just 50 minutes.

It took only two and-a-half hours from the time the heart was removed to the time it was transplanted. This is exceptional given the distance between the two cities, remarked Dr Nancy Poirier. The young girl, who comes from the Gaspe, had been on a waiting list for a month-and-a-half.

Air Médic’s Jean-Claude Maltais, agrees that the mission was a great success. The Dauphin AS-635 has only been operational out of Mirabel for a few months. The helicopter has been used primarily for transporting sick and injured patients, but after last week’s mission, Maltais now forsees a future for helicopters in transporting organs.

Québec-Transplant’s Micheline Lyras said that her organization opted for the helicopter because there was no fixed-wing aircraft or pilot available. It was our last resort, she said.

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