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Protection Journal – A Last Wish that Must Be Fulfilled

  • Release Date:2012-12-28
  • Source:NASC

A last wish that must be fulfilled, by Cheng, Cheng-Wen 
Organ transplant 
“We deliver” is always a requirement that National Airborne Service Corps requires of itself. When it comes to delivering a donated organ, we always bring out our best with full respect, because that is the last wish of a brave person as well as the hope of someone fighting for life.
To most people, what the Corps does is to rescue: to rescue people from accident, disaster or medical conditions. When a national disaster or human accident occurs, we are the first line of rescue to solve the problem and save people in the shortest possible time. On the other hand, “transportation” is one of our important missions. The Corps always provides the fastest transportation between point A and point B in a 3-dimensional way. Therefore, the most urgent delivery of “donated organs” is part of our jobs to do.

It was late at night on Aug 18 2010 around 11 o’clock, but the lights were still on at the preparation room of the squadron stationed at Xiaogang Airport. The officers on duty were busy in what they were doing and talked to one another when they had the time. Suddenly the phone rang and the duty officer at the duty command center gave a mission of delivering an organ. 
A group of physicians were removing the heart of an organ donor at E-Da Hospital in Kaohsiung, and the heart was going to arrive at Xiaogang Airport where the squadron was stationed at 1:00 midnight, and we had to deliver the organ to Songshan Airport, Taipei as fast as we could. It had to be put into the chest of the receiver before the heart failed. 
That is to say, we had two hours to prepare for takeoff. It was all hands on deck and those on duty at the Maintenance Division wasted no time to get the helicopter ready. The crew for this mission was assembled and briefed for the mission at 11:30 and alcohol test was performed on each of the crewmember making sure that everyone was at his best conditions both physically and psychologically. At 12:30, HQs called and said that the organ was removed and an ambulance was driving extremely fast with the heart in it. As soon as this message came in, the crew jumped on the helicopter for the pre-flight check, started the engine and was ready to take off as soon as the heart arrived. Just as the helicopter was ready to take off, the ambulance rushed into the airport with the siren blaring. Two medical workers carried the heart into the cabin. The pilot had the clearance from the tower and the helicopter took off heading north. 
The helicopter leveled as it reached 5,000 feet. In total darkness, dim lights scattered across the ground. Perhaps everybody was fast asleep. We were like a lone hawk soaring in the skies and looking down on the ground, feeling that the Earth and everyone living on it seemed to become one that was sleeping under the moonlight and breathing evenly. I sometimes think that our existence, our mission is in face that a society congregate everyone into unity and does what it can so that there is a strength to help those who live in it when their lives are in danger, because no one is truly alone and helpless. 
We were high in the air and maintained contact with aviation control for weather and covering information. As we flew over Houlong, Miaoli, we descended to a lower altitude as instructed by the aviation control, and fixed the direction towards waypoint ZONLI. Upon reaching the waypoint, we would be able to start ILS approach with the clearance of aviation control. 
We landed at Songshan Airport at 2:40. As soon as the helicopter was parked, the ambulance that had been waiting on the apron picked the organ container and sped off. Our mission had come to an end.  The engine was turned off and the crew got off the helicopter and entered the duty control room of Squadron 1, 1st Wing at Songshan Airport to finish the job.
The rules said that we still had to debrief even though the mission was a success. The pilot in command hosted the meeting and talked what we did wrong, what needed to be improvement, how we would be able to communication internally better, and what’s left to do on our way back to Kaohsiung.
It was 3:30 when I lied down on the bed in the transit room, exhausted both physically and psychologically. The pressure is greater to fly in the night sky and it takes a lot more physical and psychological strength. But everything is worthy knowing that a person’s life is saved. Everyone on the Corps has the highest respect when flying an organ delivery mission, because that is the last wish of a brave person and the hope of someone striving for life.