PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s not an everyday occurrence for an organ transplant surgeon to break down with an organ in his car on his way to the surgery. What happened next was even more unusual and was like a second gift of life.
A good Samaritan carrying a police radio heard the doctor’s call for help and knew it was up to him to get the doctor and organ to the hospital.
Normally, you would never take a ride from a stranger even if your car broke down. But in this case, someone’s life was on the line, and the stranger was more than a Good Samaritan, he was like someone’s angel.
Meet Brad Dostlik, a self-taught mechanic, police radio enthusiast and “good guy.”
He was near the Cranberry Mall Wednesday night when he heard an unusual call. An organ transplant doctor driving a Tesla had broken down, with a kidney in his car.
“I like, friendly waved at him and I said, you got a kidney in the car, you need a ride?” Dostlik said.
The Good Samaritan said he approached the doctor quickly due to the urgency and knowing many Tesla’s don’t have spares.
“When he had a flat tire on a Tesla, I knew it was game over,” Dostlik said.
Some things are just meant to be, the timing, people and purpose.
Inside that car was Dr. Martin Wijkstrom, a UPMC Transplant surgeon. Wijkstrom was on a tight schedule as the life-saving surgery was in a few hours.
“He was very trustworthy and we connected and I had no real doubt,” Dr. Wijkstrom said.
With a hospital special response team a distance away, the two men devised a plan.
“Are you willing to drive to Erie? I said yeah, I have a full tank of gas, let’s go,” Dostlik said.
There was 110 miles between the doctor with a kidney and a patient waiting at UPMC Hamot Medical Center.
Anxiously waiting there, 63-year-old Tom Loree from Warren, Pa., who was in kidney failure.
“We do like to do the transplants in a short period of time because it improves the outcome for the patient, so it’s a little time sensitive,” Dr. Martin Wijkstrom said.
While best-laid plans may not have worked, the mission of two men worked even better. At 1:45 a.m., Brad received a text that Tom was out of surgery and it was a success.
“People are still out there doing great deeds, wonderful deeds acts of love and kindness,” said Colleen Sullivan, Director of Communications for (CORE) Center for Organ Recovery.
“I just want to do my good deed, I really wish other people would do the same thing,” Dostlik said.
The two had time for a quick selfie in front of the hospital as the road of life brought two men together to save another.
Dostlik said it was a life-changing moment.
“I’ll never forget him, I’ll never forget that car ride,” he said.