Mind and Body

Doctors successfully transplant heart dropped in street

Erika Hernandez, 28, gives a thumbs up from inside an ambulance after being discharged from the hospital where she had a heart transplant in Mexico City, Tuesday Jan. 24, 2012. Hernandez made national news on Jan. 11 when her new heart was accidentally dropped while being transported to the hospital where she was waiting for surgery.

Erika Hernandez, 28, gives a thumbs up from inside an ambulance after being discharged from the hospital where she had a heart transplant in Mexico City, Tuesday Jan. 24, 2012. Hernandez made national news on Jan. 11 when her new heart was accidentally dropped while being transported to the hospital where she was waiting for surgery.

A heart that was dropped on the ground while being transported to a hospital has been successfully transplanted into a 28-year-old hair stylist.

Dr. Jaime Saldivar says Erika Hernandez doesn’t yet know that her new heart made national news when a medic stumbled and the plastic-wrapped heart tumbled out of a cooler onto the street two weeks ago.

Saldivar says it will be up to the family to tell her.

A rosy-cheeked Hernandez spoke briefly with reporters on Tuesday and thanked the donor’s family, saying “I have no words to express what I’m feeling right now.”

Hernandez was born with a congenital heart defect. She received the heart of a man who died in a car accident.