As you can imagine, there is a lot that goes on behind-the-scenes when it comes to any type of organ transplant. That is especially true of a heart transplant, and some people are ineligible for reasons most of us don’t realize.
Such was the case with a 27-year-old man with autism who couldn’t get a transplant because he was lacking a support system. That is when an ICU nurse stepped up to the plate and adopted him so the procedure could go forward.
Lori Wood was the ICU nurse who was taking care of Jonathan Pinkard at Piedmont Newman Hospital in Georgia. It happened in 2018 when he was being examined after falling at work. Jonathan was given the news that he needed a heart transplant, and Lori knew that she needed to help.
One of the many things that need to be in place for a heart transplant to occur is that the individual receiving the heart has to be responsible to care for their health. They need to care for themselves in numerous ways, including taking their medication regularly. Pinkard was often found living in shelters after his grandmother passed away in 2012.
Wood told TODAY, “Jonathan was very sick, but he wasn’t eligible for a transplant because he didn’t have a support system.” Even his mother was in rehab, which did not work in his favor.
That is when Wood went to Pinkard to ask if she could become his legal guardian. In her estimation, it was a “no-brainer” because, without the transplant, he would’ve died. Even though they didn’t know each other, they worked their way into a comfortable routine quickly.
Today shared that Wood said: “Jonathan has his chair, and I have my chair. We like game shows and high five back and forth if we get an answer right. He is very loving.”
In August, Pinkard had a heart transplant, and his legal guardian has been working hard to ensure that he gets to his doctor’s appointment and stays healthy by taking his medication. She has also taught him some life skills and helped him to improve his credit score so he can live on his own. Pinkard hopes to return to work soon as an office clerk and affectionately refers to Wood as “Mama.”
Wood couldn’t be happier, saying that it was a joy to have him there and she knew that it was what she was supposed to do.Whizzco