By Stephanie Stahl

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pope’s visit created some special challenges today for the medical community involved in life saving organ transplants. The challenges were related to working around all the travel restrictions.

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Two members of the Hahnemann University Hospital transplant team emerged after an eight hour liver transplant, for a patient who’s been waiting for over a year.  “He received that transplant while the Pope was leading services just down the block,” explained  Dr. David Reich, the chief of Transplantation at  Hahnemann.

During the Popes first day in Philadelphia, the Gift on Life program coordinated seven donations, that could result in dozens of transplants which are still being allocated.  Jan Weinstock a Vice President at Gift of Life says it was busier than usual. “I believe this is a giving community whether that’s tied to the Pope, I hope he will continue to inspire people,” Weinstock said.

With extensive traffic restrictions, driving is impossible, so helicopters and ambulances were used to transport  patients and organs to a variety of hospitals where several transplants were performed.

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With 6,000 people waiting for transplants locally and never having enough donors – Gift of Life operates around the clock – managing, even the all the of Pope related travel restrictions.

Dr. Reich says it’s been challenging, but the pope is an inspiration to everyone. “It was a great day for a lot of people, blessed day for a lot of people,” Dr. Reich says.

Even the New Jersey state police got involved escorting a transplant patient over the closed Ben Franklin Bridge to Jefferson Hospital.

http://www.donors1.org

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Stephanie Stahl