Honoring the 10th anniversary of transplant team tragedy

May 31, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

Nearly 10 years ago, on June 4, 2007, Michigan Medicine suffered the loss of a heroic transplant team.

Six faculty and staff members were returning from Milwaukee — where they had retrieved a pair of lungs for transplantation in Ann Arbor — when their Survival Flight plane went down over Lake Michigan.

Please join colleagues, friends and family as the organization honors the memory of those who were lost with a memorial reception on Friday, June 2 in Ford Auditorium at University Hospital. The reception runs from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., with remarks beginning at 2:30.

A moment of reflection will be held at the “Rotations” sculpture at UH immediately following the program.

“Friday’s ceremony is an opportunity for the entire Michigan Medicine community to come together to remember these selfless individuals,” said Christopher Sonnenday, M.D., MHS, surgical director of the liver transplant program and a member of the group that organized the memorial reception.

The team members aboard the flight were:

  • David Ashburn, M.D., a fellow in cardiac surgery
  • Richard Chenault II, transplant donation specialist, U-M Transplant Program
  • Dennis Hoyes, Marlin Air pilot
  • Rick LaPensee, transplant donation specialist, U-M Transplant Program
  • Bill Serra, Marlin Air pilot
  • Martin Spoor, M.D., U-M cardiac surgeon

Sonnenday added: “By honoring their sacrifice, we take time to remind all of us of the importance and challenges of our mission — to provide life-saving transplants to as many of our patients as possible.”