For the past six years, Željko Radić has been the official driver of the Ministry of Health’s transplant vehicle, transporting around 80 organs and saving 80 lives. He is on duty 24/7 and must always be available, making every trip routine despite the initial stress. Kidneys and livers are usually transported on commercial flights while hearts are often transported on more urgent flights, sometimes requiring police escorts. The coordinators of the Ministry of Health lead all details regarding organ transport, including private flights when necessary.
Emanuel Brađašević, a 26-year-old transplant coordinator for the Ministry of Health, is responsible for organizing transport within 30 minutes. He mentions that multi-organ exploitation can be the most stressful situation, with one of his most challenging shifts lasting 40 hours without sleep. The coordinators check a register of voluntary donors when a potential donor is announced by a hospital, obtaining consent from family members if necessary. Croatia has been one of the top countries in transplants for years along with Spain.
Dr. Marina Premužić, the national coordinator of transplants in Croatia, spoke about the success of transplants in Croatia and the high rate of public approval for this method of treatment. She recalled a specific case where a heart transplant recipient was able to return to their daily activities after surgery due to their successful recovery through transplantation. While there are still many people waiting for organ transplants in Croatia, it highlights the ongoing need for donors to continue saving lives through this crucial medical procedure.