Airport security make a stunning discovery as woman tries to move to Australia

A transplant patient has revealed how she was stopped by airport security because she was taking her old heart through customs.

Jessica Manning, 30, who underwent a double heart and liver transplant eight years ago, was moving from New Zealand to Australia and had the organ in her hand baggage.

She said that she had to declare her heart to officials in person as there was no option for ‘human remains’ on the incoming passenger card.

Ms Manning said she had ‘never felt so anxious’ as she showed the border official the now-pale organ in a vacuum-sealed bag.

Jessica Manning, 30, New Zealand, revealed how she was recently stopped by airport security – because she was taking her old heart through customs

She has kept the preserved heart (pictured) by her side after a life-saving double transplant in 2019 and was cleared through customs after explaining her story

 She has kept the preserved heart (pictured) by her side after a life-saving double transplant in 2019 and was cleared through customs after explaining her story

‘He didn’t quite know what to do with it, so he went to go talk to his boss,’ she said.

‘This is when my tears started because the guy was as nice as he could be, and I understand he was just being very cautious.

The teacher was held for about an hour as border officials ruled out any health hazards with the abnormal find before letting her pass.

‘His main issue was that I was bringing in a new disease to the country, and he didn’t want me to bring in something that was a hazard to Australia.

‘But I’m pleased it was all cleared, and I was allowed to continue on my journey, and I still have my old heart with me.’

Ms Manning was born with sex heart defects, which led to multiple heart surgeries as a child and her heart failing at just 19 before her liver then failed three years later.

This eventually resulted in a full heart and liver transplant.

Airport security didn't know what to do when the woman arrived with the heart

Airport security didn’t know what to do when the woman arrived with the heart

She told how workers wanted to rule out any cross border health hazards, but let her continue on her journey after she revealed her story and past medical history

She told how workers wanted to rule out any cross border health hazards, but let her continue on her journey after she revealed her story and past medical history

She said: ‘When I was 19, I went into heart failure. And then when I was 22, I was diagnosed with liver disease. The liver disease was due to a procedure I had when I was three-years-old.

‘In December 2016, I was assessed for heart and liver transplant, but because it had not been done in New Zealand or Australia on someone born with heart issues, it took them a long time to decide whether it was something that they were willing to risk.

‘I ended up being put on the transplant list in April 2017 and I waited 16 months for my transplant.’

The teacher revealed that New Zealand is one of the few countries around the world that allows transplant patients to keep their discarded organs. 

She explained that indigenous Maori cultures have a strong belief that you should be buried the same way that you were brought into this world.

‘So we do have the choice of keeping our organs so we can bury it with us so we’re buried in full.

Jessica, originally from New Zealand, was born with six heart defects which led to her having multiple heart surgeries growing up

Jessica, originally from New Zealand, was born with six heart defects which led to her having multiple heart surgeries growing up

Jessica pictured as a newborn after doctors discovered she had heart problems

Jessica pictured as a newborn after doctors discovered she had heart problems

‘I’m not Maori, but I still think that the belief is really cool but I actually donated both my organs to medical research and science so that is why I don’t have my liver because it went to a university for studies about liver cirrhosis.’ 

However that wasn’t the last she’d see of her heart.

‘About 10 months later, I received a call, stating they no longer needed my heart and asked if I wanted it back. 

‘I said yes because I wanted to bury it on a property that meant something to me so maybe the first house I buy and then I wanted to plant a tree on top.’ 

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