Winter Storm Surge
Wind blows snow Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, across U.S. 36 in Hendricks County, Ind. Winter weather is blanketing the U.S. as a massive storm sent temperatures crashing and created whiteout conditions. Mykal McEldowney/AP


  • The Alaska man is battling congestive heart failure
  • Doctors in Seattle reportedly gave him an eight-hour window to get to the hospital
  • The heart went to the next person on the list after the winter storm grounded all flights to Seattle

A man in Alaska was not able to get a heart transplant after flights to Seattle, Washington, were canceled Friday due to the winter storm.

Patrick Holland, a 56-year-old man battling congestive heart failure, was scheduled to fly from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Seattle to get his new heart, KING-TV reported.

Holland, who was put on the active transplant list three weeks ago, received a call last Thursday from the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle informing him that a donor match had been found.

Fairbanks is about 2,145 miles from Seattle. The doctors in Seattle reportedly gave him an eight-hour window to get to the hospital. Holland immediately booked the next flight. However, his overnight flight to Seattle was canceled.

After informing the airline about his situation, the airline workers managed to secure him a spot on another plane, but due to the strong winter weather, that flight was rerouted to Anchorage, Alaska, mid-flight.

Holland only realized it after they landed, he said. The flight had to be rerouted because the ice storm grounded all flights at Sea-Tac.

"I think I cried more that day than I have in my life and had exerted every emotion that I'd never had," Holland said.

"I started to panic," he said, "and my worst fears were overwhelming me. Because when you hear that, you're like, there's somebody donating a heart and I don't imagine they can wait that long. Because the longer it waits, the longer the tissue decomposes."

According to Holland, Alaska Airlines "jumped through hoops to get me there," but multiple subsequent flights were also canceled, and he told his brother, "I know I've lost it, I know I have."

Later on, the transplant coordinator called Holland and informed him that the heart went to the next person on the waiting list, CNN reported.

Despite the unexpected turn of events, Holland managed to see the positive in it. "To get out of that funk, I immediately said, 'Thank God, there's going to be a family that saving someone's dad saving someone's brother, saving someone's, someone's uncle,'" he said.

Holland, a father of seven with children ranging in age from 3 to 36, joked about wanting more.

"I came from a big family so I always told my wife I would like to have 10 kids," he said. "She said, 'Maybe if you get the new heart.'"

"I've had an amazing 17 years with a wife, and my kids and to be able to watch the next two graduate would be just phenomenal," Holland said. "I mean, it'd be a miracle, really tell the truth, it'll be a miracle."

Holland is staying hopeful. He said he plans to travel to Seattle in two weeks and find a place to stay so he doesn't miss another chance at a new heart.

"I will be closer, there'll be no storms to stop me," Holland said. "It would take a completely different act of God to stop me."

Representational image (airplane)
Representational image (Source: Pixabay / juno1412) Source: Pixabay / juno1412