Amid massive exercises to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in Kerala, the state police on Saturday operated its rented helicopter to transport the heart of a brain dead patient from Thiruvananthapuram to Ernakulam, a distance of around 220 km, for a patient.
The heart of the Thiruvananthapuram resident was later harvested on a 49-year-old woman patient from Kothamangalam at the Lissie Hospital in Ernakulam.
The woman had been suffering from cardiac problems for the past one year, a hospital spokesman said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the humanitarian act of the family of Thiruvananthapuram resident Laly Gopakumar to donate her heart, kidney and eyes was a brave move.
“Her heart, kidney and eyes were donated. It was a brave move on behalf of the family during the time of immense grief. The heart was to be taken to the Lissy hospital at Ernakulam. We provided the helicopter free of cost. When such emergencies come up, we will use the helicopter,” he told reporters.
The state government decided to use the chopper as an air ambulance free-of-cost to transport the vital organ as there are major traffic restrictions at district borders.
The helicopter made the journey in about 40 minutes to Ernakulam, after which the heart was transferred to an ambulance and taken to the hospital.
The renting of the chopper earlier this year by the Left government from Pawan Hans for a monthly tariff of Rs 1.44 crore had drawn flak from the Opposition parties.
The chopper is to be used for various activities, including natural disasters, rescue and anti-Maoist operations.