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Local Police Defy Blizzard to Safely Usher Liver Transplant Patient for Urgent Surgery

Patient, Now Recovering at Montefiore, Thanks Police for Lifesaving Escort

Bronx, NY (March 2, 2010) -- Early last Friday morning, as a blizzard brought the New York-metropolitan area to a virtual standstill, Long Island resident Maryann "Mac" Steinbock received an urgent call from her doctors at Montefiore Medical Center. They had the liver she had been waiting 18 months for, and they were ready to perform her transplant.

But blizzard conditions and snow accumulation on Long Island prevented Steinbock from leaving her Atlantic Beach home. The Montefiore doctors contacted Steinbock's local police for help, and set off a lifesaving chain of events. Nassau County Police dispatched two units to escort her to Montefiore.  At the city line they were met on the Van Wyck Expressway by two New York City Police units, who then proceeded to usher Steinbock to Montefiore. As soon as Steinbock arrived at the medical center she was taken to the operating room, where the liver transplant team performed her successful, lifesaving operation.

Four days after Steinbock's transplant, the police officers involved in her transport returned to the medical center, where Steinbock expressed her gratitude to them, the family of the liver donor, and her medical team for making her transplant possible.

"I feel great. The whole thing is a miracle," Steinbock said, seated in a chair outside her hospital room and surrounded by her husband Corey, her transplant team, and police officers Robert Prince and Jacek Trybala from the Nassau County Police, 4th Precinct; and Anthony Romano and Stephen Brooks, NYC Highway Police.    

Milan Kinkhabwala, MD, Director, Montefiore-Einstein Abdominal Transplant Center, recalled the urgent nature of last Friday's events. "The timing of a liver transplantation is very important, and the threshold to implant the donor liver is 12 hours. In Maryann's case we came close. There was not a lot of time, and many moving parts," he said. "We are very happy with the outcome, and very thankful to all involved."

Steinbock thanked the police officers, describing the trip to Montefiore last Friday as "surreal, like being in a movie." Her husband marveled at the coordination among the two police units and the medical center. "They worked like a well-tuned team. It was just magnificent," he said.

Steinbock also expressed deep gratitude to the family of the liver donor for "giving me a second chance," and summed up her experience at Montefiore: "It's a wonderful thing. They saved my life and have taken such good care of me. We're a family now."

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