Heart transplant: Woman, 30, stopped by airport security in Australia after trying to take her old heart in her hand luggage

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A woman was stopped at airport security after trying to take her own heart in her hand luggage.

A woman was stopped at an airport in Australia as she was trying to bring her old heart with her to the country in her hand luggage. Jessica Manning, 30, originally from New Zealand, decided to move to Australia and had her old heart in her hand luggage which meant that she was stopped by airport security for an hour.

Ms Manning underwent a double heart and liver transplant eight years ago after having had complications since birth. She was born with six heart defects and had more than 200 operations before eventually having the transplants.

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She originally donated her heart to science but after 10 months she was told that it was no longer needed and so she decided to keep it in a plastic bag at her home. Officials stopped her at the airport as she tried to bring her old heart into the country as they wanted to check that there were no health hazards involved. After it was confirmed there was none she was able to continue on her way.

A woman was stopped at airport security after trying to take her own heart in her hand luggage. (Photo: Getty Images)A woman was stopped at airport security after trying to take her own heart in her hand luggage. (Photo: Getty Images)
A woman was stopped at airport security after trying to take her own heart in her hand luggage. (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

She told the New Zealand Herald: “So I was there for about an hour trying to get this dang heart through to Australia. I have it now though, and it’s safe in my wardrobe”. Ms Manning had three open heart surgeries before having a transplant with the first aged five months before two more when she was three and six. She developed liver disease when she was 22 as a result of the heart surgeries.

Back in 2016, doctors were worried about carrying out a double heart and liver transplant due to the risks but eventually gave the go-ahead. Jessica then had to endure a long wait before she had a donor. And it was at this point that she was told she had only a two-year life expectancy if she did not have a transplant.

She told the New Zealand Herald: “When I was 19, I went into heart failure. And then when I was 22, I was diagnosed with liver disease. The liver disease was due to a procedure I had when I was three years old.

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“In December 2016, I was assessed for heart and liver transplant, but because it had not been done in New Zealand or Australia on someone born with heart issues, it took them a long time to decide whether it was something that they were willing to risk. I ended up being put on the transplant list in April 2017 and I waited 16 months for my transplant.”

After she had her transplants she said in 2019 how up until then she had always struggled to breathe and this had meant that she had not been able to do certain things. She added: “Everyone asks me, ‘What’s the best part about having the transplant?’, and I just say, ‘I can breathe’.”

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