Birmingham Airport aircraft crash liver 'saved patient'


A transplant patient "would certainly have died" without the liver that was on board a private plane which crash-landed in Birmingham, her doctor said.

The Cessna from Belfast transporting the organ crashed in foggy conditions at Birmingham Airport on Friday.

Two pilots in the plane were hurt but the liver was undamaged, enabling the operation to go ahead as planned.

Simon Bramhall, the surgeon who performed the transplant, said it was "amazing" the organ survived intact.

Crash investigators closed the airport until midday on Saturday.

Mr Bramhall, consultant liver transplant surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, said: "Without a liver transplant the patient would certainly have died."

'Matter of days'

The patient who received the organ was listed as "super urgent" because at the time she was one of the sickest people on the transplant list in the UK.

"Patients who are on this list only have a matter of days to survive, so in this particular instance it was crucially important that the donor liver was used and has functioned successfully," Mr Bramhall said.

He said the organ had been well packaged, in an insulated box with ice, but he was amazed that it had been delivered in a usable form in spite of the crash.

"Crashing and burning is not something we normally do with our donor livers," he said.

"The patient is now on one of our wards here at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, making a very good and steady recovery and conversing normally, eating and drinking. Everything is going according to plan."

A spokeswoman for the private plane charter firm AD Aviation said: "The pilots are both doing fine.

"One was released from hospital on Saturday, the other is still being treated. His injuries are not life-threatening but his recuperation could take a number of weeks.

"One of the pilots got out of the plane themselves while the other had to be rescued. Both are very experienced pilots who we've known for a number of years."

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