Cell Phone GPS Finds Transplant Patient

Sue May and state trooper Cpl. James Green tell the Early Show how GPS cell phone tracking found 10-year-old John May in time to get him a heart transplant. CBS

Police located a 10-year-old boy awaiting a heart transplant by using global-positioning technology to find his mother's cell phone, a technique usually used to locate criminals.

John Paul May, of Harrisville, had the successful surgery at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh on Saturday night, but came dangerously close to being passed over for the donor heart until police tracked down the boy and his mother at a university jazz festival.

"When I go to a concert, I always turn my phone down to vibrate," Sue May said on CBS News' The Early Show. "And unfortunately, this time, after the concert was over, I didn't put the volume up."

When police could not find the boy or reach him by phone, they contacted the cell phone company Sprint to get the coordinates of his mother's cell phone.

"The only time you can use it is life or death, or to track someone wanted in a homicide," state police Cpl. James Green said. Otherwise, police must get a warrant from a judge.

"That was the trooper working the desk," Green told co-anchor Harry Smith Thursday. "The trooper contacted Sprint and asked if we could track the cell phone."

Using the coordinates, state police tracked the phone to a Slippery Rock University building. Green stopped the jazz concert and announced he was looking for May and his mother, Sue.

"I announced we had to get her to Pittsburgh, to Children's Hospital, that they had a heart for her little boy," Green said.

The audience of about 500 people jumped to their feet and gave the boy a standing ovation as he left, said Steve Hawk, a music professor who conducted the concert.

"I've been in the entertainment business for 30 years and never had such an emotional, shocking event happen at something live," Hawk said.

John Paul May is "doing very well," says his mother.

"He's still in critical condition, but stable. And he's doing as good as expected at this time," Sue May said. "But that's just thanks to all the policemen. And I just thank God for them for finding us.

"Because if it wasn't for them, if we didn't get this heart, who knows if my son would have survived (until) the next heart?"
  • Lloyd Vries

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