While essential and life-saving, organ donation is an incredibly tricky and difficult procedure. Trust me, I’m a doctor. Kind of.
After an organ is removed from the body, it’s put in a cooler and sent where it’s supposed to go without a second to lose. The time window that organ is still good for is very small (5-10 hours for lungs and only 4-6 hours for hearts), so the entire team involved on both sides of the transport can’t afford a single mistake. This also means that some organs go to waste as the possible transplant recipient is simply too far away.
But maybe not anymore. Innovative medical device company TransMedics wants to change all that. Instead of the current system which uses cool temperatures to slow the organ’s death, they’ve created a system that keeps the organ warm and pumping during transport, greatly increasing its available travel time.
It’s an incredible discovery and a huge step forward in medicine. However, as a movie geek, it also reminds me of this:
That being said, this medical miracle is clearly nothing like the campy classic, and the doctors involved are not cackling mad scientists (probably). However, it is fascinating to see that something kinda creepy can revolutionize medicine and save lives. Three cheers for creepy!
To find out more, check out this story on NPR. And just because it’s that romantical time of year, here’s a themed valentine you may (or may not) want to give to your sweetie: