Dad-of-7 Misses Out On Heart Transplant After Extreme Weather Cancels Flight

A father of seven from the US was unable to receive a heart transplant during the Christmas season due to extreme weather that caused his flight to be canceled.

A rare storm affected large parts of the US over the holiday period, leading to significant disruptions in the travel industry, among other areas.

One of the individuals affected by the storm was 56-year-old Patrick Holland from Alaska, who has congestive heart failure and had been waiting on the heart transplant list for a few weeks until he received a call on 22 December.

On the cold Thursday in question, Holland was informed by the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle that a suitable donor had been found.

In an interview with CNN, Holland stated: "It was terrifying news to hear that I was going to get a transplant, to be honest with you. I was terrified - and then I was excited."

Holland then explained that he rushed to the airport with his brother to catch the first flight from Fairbanks, Alaska to Seattle. He noted that the airport was unusually crowded due to the storm causing flight cancellations.

Holland explained his situation to an airline worker, who promised to get him on a plane. The worker kept her word and managed to get Holland on a flight, but it wasn't smooth sailing.

Due to the adverse weather conditions, Holland's flight was diverted to Anchorage during the journey, something he only realized once he had landed.

He mentioned that the excitement of receiving a heart transplant must have caused him to miss the announcement.

"I started to panic and all and my worst fears were overwhelming me," he said.

"Because when you hear that, you're like, there's somebody donating a heart and I don't imagine they can wait that long. Because the longer it waits, the longer the tissue decomposes."

At this point, Holland was concerned that he might not receive the heart transplant, but the transplant coordinator reassured him, saying that "the heart was for you."

However, numerous flights from Anchorage were canceled, leaving Holland with little hope as he told his brother: "I know I've lost it, I know I have."

The transplant coordinator then called Holland again, as he recalled: "She was calling me back to tell me they were going to give the heart to someone else."

While the news was devastating, Holland tried to focus on the positive aspect that someone else was able to receive a Christmas miracle while he was able to return home and spend the holiday with his family.