Georgia Nurse Lori Wood Adopts Man with Autism so He Can Receive a Life-Saving Heart Transplant

A hospital shares a video of ICU nurse Lori Wood as she goes out of her way to ensure an autistic patient gets a new heart. 

Last year when twenty-seven-year-old Jonathan Pinkard fell and was rushed to the emergency, he had no idea his life was about to change in a lot of ways. 

"When you are a nurse, and you are willing to help people, it can be very frustrating when a patient needs something, and for some reason, they can't have it or receive it."

Pinkard, who was on the autism spectrum, was rushed to Piedmont Healthcare, where he was told that he would need a heart transplant. 

Pinkard, however, could not be included in the heart transplant list because he had no support system. 

"I lived with my grandmother, and she passed away in 2012. My mother is in a rehab facility, and she can't do much," Pinkard explained in a video posted by the hospital's facebook account.

The spokesperson, Anne Paschke of the organization in charge of deciding which patients receive donated organs in the United States (The United Network for Organ Sharing UNOS) told correspondents of Today's Health about the considerations looked into before putting up patients on the heart transplant list.

"They're going to look at things like do you show up for appointments and follow doctors' orders? If you get a transplant and don't take your immunosuppressive drugs, you're going to lose it."

In a drastic turn of events, a fifty-seven-year-old ICU nurse and single mom of one, Lori Wood, who had been taking care of Pinkard for two days, decided to adopt him as a legal guardian so that he could make the heart transplant list.

She said: 

"When you are a nurse, and you are willing to help people, it can be very frustrating when a patient needs something, and for some reason, they can't have it or receive it."

Lori revealed that it wasn't much of a struggle to reach that decision because she had all she needs to take care of him. "At some point, God places situations into your life, and you have a choice to do something about it," she said about the decision. 

"For me, this situation, there was no choice. I had a room, and I was a nurse, I could take care of him."

However, Kerri Hamilton, a co-worker at the hospital nominated Lori for the hospital's "President Award" after she found out what she had done.

"I nominated Lori for this. To me, it was above and beyond anything, and she deserves to be recognized for it. She has inspired me to be a better nurse," Kerri said.

The CEO of Piedmont Newton, Mike Robertson, said in the video that Lori's actions had taught everyone at the hospital to do better.

"Most caregivers have a large heart, but I haven't seen any as close to Lori's."

The twenty-seven-year-old had a successful heart transplant and moved into his new home and family right after. 

"it's emotional, and at the same time, this has been a life journey for me. She has been awesome and very lovable to her son and me, as well."

Lori takes care of Johnathan's health needs, administering his medications, and going with him to doctors' appointments. They have bonded over watching football games and Steve Harvey's "Family Feud."

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