Alaska man misses lifesaving heart transplant surgery after winter storm cancels flight to Seattle, report says

Alaska man misses lifesaving heart transplant surgery after winter storm cancels flight to Seattle, report says
An information board shows canceled flights on December 22, 2022, as the winter storm wreaked havoc on travel plans.JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images
  • A man in his 50s had an eight-hour window to get from Alaska to Seattle for a heart transplant.
  • His flights were canceled because of the massive winter storm, NBC News reported.

A man in his 50s with congestive heart failure missed a lifesaving heart transplant surgery because his flight to Seattle was canceled due to the massive winter storm, NBC News reported.

Patrick Holland, who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, received a call from a doctor last Thursday telling him that a donor's heart was available.

He was told that he had an eight-hour window to travel from Fairbanks to Seattle, Washington, for the surgery at Heart Institute at UW Medical Center at Montlake, NBC News affiliate King 5 reported.

Shortly after buying the ticket, Holland was notified that the flight had been canceled due to bad weather, his wife said in a Facebook post on a page chronicling his heart transplant journey.

More than 4,500 flights were canceled by last Friday afternoon as the winter storm engulfed the central and eastern US, Insider reported.


Holland's wife said that after relaying the situation to Alaska Airlines for three hours, the airline put him on the next flight. According to another Facebook post by his wife, they turned the flight around due to the winter storm and landed in Anchorage, Alaska.

Three of his flights from Anchorage were canceled and the eight-hour window to get to Seattle closed, NBC News reported. The heart was given to someone else, and a transplant surgery did not go ahead, according to the Facebook page.

"I think I cried more that day than I have in my life," Holland told King 5.

Holland's wife described the experience in a Facebook post as "the most traumatic, difficult hours of Patrick's life."

She wrote that his "hopes and dreams were lifted to astounding heights" before being "left to tumble down to the lowest depths of nightmarish proportions."


Holland had hoped that the heart transplant would give him another 30 years of life, his wife wrote. "And on Friday, he felt that he had lost 30 years of his life," she said on Facebook.

According to NBC News, the family is trying to prepare for the possibility of another heart becoming available by staying in Washington state.

On Friday, Holland's wife said on Facebook that her husband has a place to live in Seattle so that he doesn't risk missing another possibility.