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North Texas Doctors Navigate Icy Conditions To Save Lives

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Some doctors tried to pull off what seemed impossible this past weekend. They navigated on the ground and through the air on a mission to save two lives.

While the ice storm kept most North Texans off the roads, Doctor Gonzo Gonzalez had no choice other than to drive through it as fast as he could.

“We were actually flipping a coin on whether we were going to make it back,” admitted the Baylor Medical Center heart surgeon.

Doctor Gonzalez documented his treacherous trip on the ground and in the sky as he traveled to pick up and transplant a human heart not once, but twice over the weekend.

He had a window of five hours. “It was pretty close,” he said, admitting that he slipped and slid a lot while driving on the North Texas roads.

Transplants have become common surgeries but when the weather is icy the procedure is dicey.

“Everyone was giving us information about how safe it was for us to go out there,” Dr. Gonzalez remembered. “My first instinct was ‘oh my God how do we get her there?’”

The family of Dorothy Dunbar had their own race against time and the elements. They drove from Arkansas so the 69-year-old could be on the operating table when one of the hearts arrived.

Dorothy Dunbar’s daughter, Shallena, said, “She was doing close to 100 [mph] maybe 110.” As for arriving safely she said, “It is certainly a blessing. We were a little nervous.”

Doctor Gonzalez and his team somehow made it back to Baylor Medical Center in time for both transplants this weekend. In one case he got to the hospital with only about 15 minutes to spare.

Remember, Dr. Gonzalez is a surgeon so if transporting the organs wasn’t stressful enough… he then had to dress for surgery and get busy in the operating room.  He transplanted both hearts successfully and saved two lives, after risking his own.

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