WATCH: Alaska man missed heart transplant after flight canceled due to winter storm

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A lone pedestrian in snow shoes makes his way across Colonial Circle as St. John’s Grace Episcopal Church rises above the blowing snow amid blizzard conditions in Buffalo, N.Y. on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP) Derek Gee/AP

WATCH: Alaska man missed heart transplant after flight canceled due to winter storm

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A man from Fairbanks, Alaska, who has congestive heart failure, had to miss a heart transplant last week after a major winter storm canceled his flight to Seattle.

Patrick Holland, who had only been on the transplant list for a few weeks when he got the call, said Alaska Airlines worked hard to get him on a second flight when they learned of his situation. However, the flight and subsequent flights were also canceled because of the storm.


“I started to panic,” Holland told CNN. “My worst fears were overwhelming me. 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.”

Hearts and lungs are only viable for four to six hours after a person dies, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees organ transplants. Other organs, such as kidneys, can be viable for 24-36 hours.

Holland said he gave up hope of making the transplant when the other flights were canceled and got a phone call from the organ coordinator that confirmed they had to give it to someone else.

“She was calling me back to tell me they were going to give the heart to somebody else,” Holland said.

Holland said his condition impairs his ability to interact with his children. He currently has seven children that range from three years old to 36, and he cannot chase the younger ones for more than 30 seconds.

Holland’s wife, Haley, who runs a Facebook page that documents her husband’s journey, said they will be better prepared for the next time a heart becomes available.

“The first one came in two-and-a-half weeks. The next one could come any time, or it could be weeks or months out,” Haley wrote in a recent post.


Holland said he was looking to temporarily relocate to Seattle so he can be ready for the next call. Although Seattle is only a 3-and-a-half-hour flight from Fairbanks, it is a 39-hour drive under normal conditions.

Holland added that even though he did not get the heart, he was thankful someone else had a Christmas miracle.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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