Woman Stopped at Airport for Carrying Her Old Heart in a Bag

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Jessica Manning, who had a heart transplant eight years ago, was recently stopped at the airport for having her old heart in her bag.

On Friday (June 14, 2024), the NZ Herald reported that Manning was moving from New Zealand to Australia when airport security stopped her. Why? Because she had a heart in her luggage!

To clear things up, Manning, 30, told the officers she had a heart and liver transplant eight years ago. The officers were worried the heart she was carrying might bring diseases into Australia.

She spent about an hour at the airport trying to explain why she had the heart. In the end, she got to keep it, and now it’s safely stored in her cabinet.

Manning was born with six heart defects, leading to multiple heart surgeries as she grew up. Her first three open-heart surgeries were at 5 months old, then at ages 3 and 6. Eventually, she needed a full heart and liver transplant.

By age 19, Manning’s heart failed, and by 22, she had liver disease.

After the transplant, Manning, who works as a teacher, decided to keep her old heart.

In New Zealand, the Māori culture believes that organs should be returned to the body as they were created by God, so they have the option to keep their organs. Even though Manning isn’t Māori, she thought this belief was really cool. But she actually donated her organs for medical research. That’s why she doesn’t have her old liver—it’s being studied for cirrhosis.

Regarding the airport incident, Manning said the officers eventually let her go with her heart. Not sure what to do next, she talked to her boss, and ended up crying. The officer was just being very careful to prevent new diseases from entering Australia.

Manning was relieved everything got sorted out and she was allowed to continue her journey, still holding onto her old heart.

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