A father of seven missed out on getting a long-awaited heart transplant after a winter storm led to his flight being canceled. Patrick Holland, 56, has congestive heart failure and had been on the transplant list for a while. On December 22, he was alerted by University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle that there was finally a match for him. Sadly, it ultimately wasn’t meant to be.
- Holland was overjoyed when he finally got the call. Waiting for a new heart for so long and finally finding out it’s going to happen is overwhelming. “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,” he told CNN. He and his brother immediately booked the first flight from Fairbanks to Seattle.
- Once they got to the airport, things started to go wrong. The airport was unusually crowded, and Holland soon discovered that was because bad weather was causing flight cancellations. An airline worker promised to get him onto the plane, and the flight did take off. However, it was rerouted mid-flight to Anchorage, meaning he wasn’t getting to Seattle after all.
- Patrick Holland wouldn’t be getting his heart transplant. After landing, Holland realized he wasn’t in Washington. “I started to panic and all and my worst fears were overwhelming me,” he recalled. “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.”
- The hospital tried to hold the heart for him. The transplant coordinator told Holland the heart was his and not to worry. However, flight after flight continued to be canceled and he knew it wasn’t going to happen. “I’ve lost it, I know I have,” he told his brother. Eventually, the coordinator did call back to tell him that they were giving the heart to another patient. Holland headed back home to be with his family for Christmas.
- However, all hope isn’t lost. Holland has now found a place to stay in Seattle and he and his wife are heading there so that they can be ready when the next call comes. They know it may be weeks or even months, but this time, they’re going to be prepared.
You can follow more of Patrick’s journey on his Facebook page HERE. Best of luck, Patrick. We’re rooting for you!