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Police Escort Critically Ill Boy to Transplant Surgery When Helicopter Can’t Fly – Patch

Twelve-year-old was rushed from North Jersey home to Philadelphia with massive coordination by first responders.

JASON KOESTENBLATT (Patch Staff)May 29, 2015

As a police officer or first responder, the first duty is to expect the unexpected.

Fortunately for a 12-year-old Chatham Borough resident, his local police department and emergency squad were up to the task.

On Wednesday, May 27, Chatham Borough police received a call that a 12-year-old boy needed immediate transportation to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The boy, in need of a lung transplant, was notified that a matching donor was found and would be ready for surgery, and it had to be done within two hours.

Two problems, though: Thunderstorms in the area grounded the Northstar helicopter originally expected to take flight, and the 75-mile trip between locations could be met with any number of problems at any time.

When learning of all this, the Chatham Emergency Squad immediately assembled a crew to transport the child to Philadelphia by way of ambulance, escorted by Chatham police.

The Morris County Communications Center contacted the New Jersey State Police, who would coordinate the police escort along state roadways such as the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike.

Chatham Sgt. Michael Mahoney drove the police escort vehicle and ushered the ambulance to exit 129 on the Garden State Parkway, where the New Jersey State Troopers took over, transferring to the New Jersey Turnpike.

Despite construction on the Ben Franklin Bridge that caused a massive traffic delay, the escort was about to re-route and make it to the hospital within the two-hour window.

As of Friday afternoon, the boy received the transplant and is recovering at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Members of the Chatham Emergency Squad who assisted include: Tim Brown; Peter Herslow; John Grobert; Joe Korkuch; Bryan McGookin; Connie Hartman; Jim Martin; Tom Patterson; and David Elliot.

Members of the Morris County Communications Center that assisted include Jason Lezcano; William Olmsted; Richard Yobs; Megan Soules; Peter Dwyer; Timothy Savage; Matt Glogolich; and Ashley Napolitano.

New Jersey State Police Troopers who assisted include: Sgt. Vince Trippa; Sgt. Doyle; Troopers Tony Casciano; Ryan Kaufman; Vasil; and Lewandowski.


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