The Five-Second Rule Works for Hearts, Too

by on November 30th, 2010
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COMMENTARY | My son and I enjoyed an unseasonably warm January day today by taking a picnic lunch to the park. As we were crossing the street my young son dropped his prized strawberries that he was carrying. I quickly scooped up the now slightly bruised and sandy berries. Obeying the five-second rule, I looked around to make sure no one was looking then brushed off the berries, gave them back to my almost crying son, and sighed. Crisis averted. So when I read that Mexican citizen Erika Hernandez was just released from the hospital after undergoing a transplant heart surgery in which she received a dropped (on the ground) heart, I could not help but picture my young son dropping a gushy heart on the street instead of his strawberries. Who drops a transplant heart anyway? And who forgot to latch the cooler? The photos make it look like the heart didn’t just take a horizontal, free-fall to the ground. Just look at the photo taken at the scene. There must be six feet of sprawled-out ice on the ground. Also, note the suspiciously slimy-looking wet trail leading up to the cooler. Hey, if it means life or death, five-second rule goes for hearts too. Truly, I am thankful and happy that Ms. Hernandez is recovering and appears to be doing great.

In all seriousness, video of the incident reveals that the heart was wrapped in some sort of protective packaging and that it didn’t fall any further than the thickness of the cooler walls. CBS News reported that the doctors proceeded with surgery. The decision was apparently appropriate as Dr. Stephen Bartlett, chairman of surgery at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine, told CBS News that “…it’s unlikely the drop had any significant impact beyond embarrassing the medics because of the multiple sterile layers around the organ and close proximity to the hospital.”

Still, next time, boys, latch the darn cooler. And really do both of you need to roll that little, 18-inch high, probably not very heavy cooler? My back just aches looking at your video. Hurray for Ms. Hernandez, hurray for the skilled surgeons, and hurray for the five-second rule.


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