In a first, the Kerala Police is set to operate its rented helicopter for a life-saving cause on Saturday. The chopper will be pressed into service to transport a human heart from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi for an urgent transplant of a patient.
Amid the coronavirus lockdown, when there are major restrictions on traffic at district borders, the state government decided to use the chopper as an air ambulance free-of-cost to transport the vital organ. According to officials, the heart is being transplanted from a 50-year-old brain-dead woman in Thiruvananthapuram into a patient who’s been waiting for a donor at the Lissie hospital in Kochi.
Kerala Police helicopter, bearing the heart, to be transplanted for the Kothamangalam native at Lissy Hospital in Ernakulam, successfully completed its first mission. pic.twitter.com/sQnQTcPSpq
— Kerala Police (@TheKeralaPolice) May 9, 2020
The procedure at the KIMS hospital in Thiruvananthapuram has started already. The heart is set to be taken in an ambulance from the hospital to the city’s international airport where the chopper is parked by around 1 pm. But with turbulent weather in the state capital, there could be a slight delay, said officials. The helicopter will then make the 40-minute journey from Trivandrum to Kochi and land atop on the helipad at the Hyatt hotel in Kochi from where it is set to be taken to Lissie hospital. Since the patient is extremely critical, the transplant has to take place today, said an official.
The helicopter was rented by the Kerala Police earlier this year from Pawan Hans for a monthly tariff of Rs 1.44 crore to be used in its anti-Maoist operations and during natural disasters. The government’s decision to rent a chopper for the use of police was heavily criticised by the Opposition at a time when the state’s finances were in disarray.
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