A teenage liver transplant patient has revealed how her life was saved by a donor liver which was plucked from the fireball wreckage of a crashed plane.
Kate Trevener, (18) was close to acute liver failure when at the eleventh hour a donor organ was found in Northern Ireland.
The liver was transported in a special box and flown from Belfast International Airport to Birmingham, however the private Cessna jet crashed on landing and exploded into a ball of flames on November 19 last.
In an amazing leap of faith, rescue workers found the organ in pristine condition packed away inside the durable ice box.
After it was discovered it was transported by a motor bike as police closed major roads during rush hour, in a race to get the donor liver to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
Less than an hour after the plane crashed, the liver was successfully transplanted into Kate.
Speaking about the chain of events that led to her transplant, the teenager says she is so grateful to be alive.
"I was sitting up in bed and my mum was telling me about the crash and I just couldn't believe what I was being told," she told the Daily Mail.
"It makes me so incredibly grateful to still be here today. There's one thing to be told you're going to die if you don't get a new liver but to get one which had just been in a plane crash blows my mind.
"I can't take it all in because at the time I had no idea what was going on and was sedated. When I came round the doctors told me the liver had been in a plane crash but they were still able to perform the operation - it was just amazing."
After been rushed to hospital last October, Kate was told she had the liver of a chronic alcoholic and would die without a transplant. She was placed at the top of the super-urgent list.
Once a suitable donor organ was found, a private jet was sent to Northern Ireland, however the aircraft crashed in thick fog when it attempted to land at Birmingham airport.
The consultant liver surgeon, Simon Bramhall who carried out the transplant operation
at the Queen Elizabeth hospital said he was "astonished" when the organ survived the crash.
"I was told the plane carrying the liver had crashed and I just thought to myself well that's that. I was very sceptical the liver would still be transplantable but it was rushed over to me to inspect," he told the Daily Mail.
"I was astonished because the box it was in was badly damaged and covered in soot and petrol and foam but inside the liver was pristine.
"It was still packed in ice and the seals holding it in place were not damaged so I decided we could go ahead with the surgery. The operation after that was quite straight forward. It is incredible considering how it came to be here."
In yet another tragic turn of events, eight days after the operation, the liver suffered a massive necrosis, meaning it died in Kate’s body. Tests are being conducted to see if the plan crash was to blame.
Once again Kate was placed at the top of the urgent transplant list, but doctors warned her parents to prepare for the worst.
"We were told to say our goodbyes and warned that the chances of getting another suitable donor were very slim," her father, Mike told the newspaper.
"We honestly thought that was it. We were all deeply upset.' But another donor was found and Kate prepared to go under the knife on November 27.
Five weeks after her second liver-transplant, Kate is doing well and expected to make a full recovery.
"When we talk to friends and relatives now about what happened they think we're making it up, according to Kate's mother.
"It was the worst rollercoaster ride ever but we're so happy and relieved that Kate is now on the up and is looking better each day."
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