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The Nation

Plane carrying organ to patient crashes, kills 6

June 06, 2007|From the Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, MICH. — The patient lay on the operating table, prepped for transplant surgery. In the air over Lake Michigan, a twin-engine plane sped his way, carrying a team of surgeons and technicians, along with a donor organ on ice.

But the plane never made it; it crashed into the lake's choppy waters, killing all six people aboard Monday. Now the critically ill patient could become the accident's seventh fatality.

"It was a very sad moment in the operating room" when word was received that the plane had gone down on its way from Milwaukee, said Dr. Jeffrey Punch, chief of transplant surgery at the University of Michigan Health System hospital in Ann Arbor.

The unidentified patient was put back on the waiting list for another organ and was reported to be "very critically ill." Authorities would not say what type of organ he was awaiting or comment on his chances of finding another one in time.

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