A Marathon was Blocking Delivery Route for Organ Donation So a Surgeon Ran Through the Race to Get it


In a story that only those who live in the colonial cities of America’s east will understand, a surgeon ran about a mile to and from a hospital to pick up a liver for his patient after a courier’s route was blocked not only by Philadelphia’s strange grid system, but thousands of marathon runners.

66-year-old Charles Rowe was waiting on an operating table with his surgeon Adam Bodzin. He was slated for a liver transplant that day to save his life from complications due to hepatitis C.

Time ticked by until Rowe was surprised to hear that Bodzin was going out the door to get the liver himself.

Meanwhile, an out-of-town van driver for Philly-based Gift of Life Donor Program was having trouble negotiating the one-way streets, half-blocks, and diagonals of Philadelphia’s city center, when it became clear that his route to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital would be blocked by the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon at two separate points.

Event organizers and police have access points for emergencies going towards the hospital, but the courier couldn’t find them even after consulting police.

Clad in sneakers and teal scrubs, Bodzin weaved his way at a full run from the hospital entrance near 11th and Chestnut Streets, through the stream of runners on Lombard Street, then another block to South Street.

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Reaching the driver and taking the sealed container with the liver on ice, he zigzagged back the same way, earning what must have been more than a few curious stares, before hitching a ride with the police back to the hospital on the other side of the marathon route.

Thanks to Bodzin’s quick thinking, they managed to transplant the liver successfully, an hour after the time when a liver begins to deteriorate. Rowe made a full recovery and left the hospital 6 days later.

Rowe called Bodzin a “hero,” Tom Avril reported for the Philadelphia Inquirer, though Bodzin chose to describe himself as “more of a biker.”

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