Nurse adopts autistic man so he can have a heart transplant

A Georgia nurse adopted a man with autism so he could be eligible for a heart transplant.

When the 27-year-old man Jonathan Pinkard was taken off the transplant list, his chances of survival lowered to a minimum.

Unfortunately, Jonathan was withdrawn from the transplant list because of his poor evaluation.

It showed that he couldn’t support himself and follow up the required procedures after the transplantation. He also needed someone to take care of him, since he couldn’t do it himself. Sadly, he didn’t have anyone.

When he met Lori Wood, his hopes were brought to life again. Wood, an ICU nurse at Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Georgia, U.S., was assigned to Jonathan last December. When she found out about the autism man’s case, she knew she had to do something to help him and save his life. She shared with TODAY:

“Jonathan was very sick, but he wasn’t eligible for a transplant because he didn’t have a support system. One of the requirements is that you have someone to care for you afterwards.”

Before receiving a transplant, patients are being evaluated to make sure they can take good care of their health afterward.

This evaluation is needed because the number of people on waiting lists for donated organs is extremely high.

According to Anne Paschke, spokesperson for United Network of Organ Sharing, the evaluation is built upon things like following doctors’ orders and showing up for appointments. She also adds:

“If you get a transplant and don’t take your immunosuppressive drugs, you’re going to lose it.”

Only two days after they met, Wood, a single mother, asked if she could become a legal guardian of Jonathan. The selfless nurse’s first thoughts were:

“I had to help him…He would have died without the transplant.”

Even though she didn’t know anything about Jonathan but his condition and the fact he had autism, they quickly found a way to each other. The 27-year-old man and his new guardian angel bonded over football and game shows.

Fortunately, Jonathan had his heart transplant in August. He even plans to go back to work as an office clerk by the end of the year. Lori Wood continues to monitor and care for his appointments and daily medications.

After Wood’s genuine act of goodness, Jonathan now calls her ‘Mama‘. Isn’t that the sweetest thing ever! Talking about his life-changing experience, Pinkard shares:

“She treats me like one of her sons. I am truly thankful for that.”

The compassionate nurse is also teaching Jonathan different life skills and is helping him boost his credit score for when he goes off on his own.

“It’s been a joy having Jonathan here with us. I knew this is what I was supposed to do.”

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