I'm sure most of you will have read about the stem cell break through in the news this morning – a nice example of a collaboration, across disciplines and countries. A team from Bristol, Barcelona, Padua and Milan have advanced the area of tissue engineering and transplanted a windpipe made from donor cartilage seeded with the patients own stem cells.
An interesting addendum to the story has also been published, which gives an amusing, if not-cautionary tale of how collaboration can add layers of complications onto any project – in this instance a logistical one.
Apparently the crucial stem cells had to be flown from Bristol to Barcelona for the operation and this had been pre-agreed by Easyjet. But on the day the day
check-in staff refused, leading to the medics having to charter a private jet for
£14,000 to make sure the implant arrived in time. The whole story is on the BBC website.
Not sure if this tells us more about low-cost airlines or collaboration – but i think there is a serious point to be tweaked out here! Collaboration is difficult and can be costly in time and money. In this case the pay-pack made it worthwhile – but sometimes and when you are at the beginning of the process, it can be difficult to convince others that this is the case.
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My observation on this incident is that if the experiment and the medical tissue was so important (and expensive) surely the budget could have stretched to an additional few hundred pounds to fly on a major airline.
This is what is on offer every day cost benefits vs risk. We fly on cheap airlines and this comes at the risk that they may occasionally not deliver. Then we act surprised!
This is a perfect example of poorly managing risk for something that was very important and hopefully a lesson learnt by other researchers?