A TEENAGE transplant patient has told how her life was saved by a donor liver plucked from the wreckage of a Cessna plane that crash landed at Birmingham Airport.
Kate Trevener, aged 18, from Castle Bromwich, was hours from death with acute liver failure when a suitable donor organ was found in Northern Ireland in November last year.
It was packaged in a protective box and flown to Birmingham - only for the aircraft to crash in fog as it came in to land, bursting into flames.
But rescue workers found the organ in ‘pristine’ condition packed inside a charred ice box, rushed it to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and 45 minutes later the liver was successfully transplanted into Kate.
She said: “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.’’
Eight days later Kate was dealt a devastating blow when that liver failed.
She was again placed on top of the urgent transplant list but doctors warned her parents, Tracey and Mike, to prepare for the worst.
The couple, who also have an eight-month-old daughter Annabel, were advised to “say their goodbyes” to Kate.
Dad Mike, aged 45, a lorry driver, said: “We honestly thought that was it. We were all deeply upset.’’
But another donor was found and Kate prepared to go into theatre again on November 27.
Her second life-saving op came close to being cancelled after the plane carrying that liver from Scotland had problems taking off.
But the aircraft touched down four hours behind schedule and the new liver was rushed to Kate.
The teenager is now expected to make a full recovery and is looking forward to going back to studying for a child care qualification.
Mum Tracey, aged 39, an art worker, said: “When we talk to friends and relatives about what happened they think we’re making it up.
“It was the worst rollercoaster ride ever but we’re so happy and relieved that Kate is now on the up and looking better each day.’’
* Kate is urging more people to volunteer as organ donors and is fund raising for research into liver donation.
* You can join the NHS Organ Donor Register by calling 0300 123 23 23 or by texting SAVE to 84118