REAL LIFE

Heart Of Gold! Nurse Adopted A 27-Year-Old Man With Autism So He Could Fulfill The Requirements For A Life-Saving Heart Transplant

November 6, 2019 15:31

There is a saying that "nursing is not just a profession, it’s a calling," and a nurse working at Piedmont Newman Hospital in Georgia proved this to be true. The one-of-a-kind ICU nurse adopted a 27-year-old man with autism just 2 days after meeting him to help him get a heart transplant!

A heart transplant is a surgery used to remove a damaged or diseased heart, which is then replaced with a healthier donor heart.

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For the few lucky beneficiaries of the treatment, a heart transplant helps them improve their conditions in ways that other forms of surgery cannot.

Nurse adopted autistic man to help him get a heart transplant

Nurse Lori Wood proved that she has a heart of gold when she adopted Jonathan Pickard, a man on the autism spectrum, to help him fulfill the requirements for a life-saving transplant.

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In a video posted on the Piedmont Newman Hospital website, Wood shared that after seeing his condition, she felt she needed to help him.

At some point, you know, God places people in situations in your life and you have a choice to do something about it… I guess for me, with this situation, there was no choice.

One of the conditions for a heart transplant is to have a support system that will aid in the post-operation recovery. Pickard, whose grandmother, his primary caregiver, had passed away in 2012, had no one. His only other family was his mother, who was in a rehab facility.

The universe has a way of sorting things out and while Pickard felt like he was alone in the world, God sent him a guardian angel in the form of Nurse Wood.

Sharing her rationale for officially adopting Pickard, the 57-year-old nurse said that the decision was automatic for her.

I had a room, I was a nurse, I could take care of him… It wasn’t really anything I struggled about. It was just something that had to happen. He had to come home with me.

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Today reported that in August, Pickard successfully underwent organ transplant and since then, he’s moved in with Pickard who helps him take his medication. Occasionally, she drives him to doctor’s appointments as she teaches him how to live independently.

How to make life better for people with autism

People like Pickard are often alone in the world but if we take the chance to know them, they can surprise us with their pure hearts and kindness.

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Some ways in which we can effectively interact with autistic people include:

  • Try not to stare: They can do awkward and unusual things like rocking or hand-flapping and they would prefer if you ignore them.

  • Don’t complain about them: People assume that people with autism are incapable of understanding speech. If you “have to talk mean,” do it when they are not around!

  • Try to help, don’t control them: Accept that people with autism are different and rather than forcing them to conform, help them find their independence.

If we change our thinking and stop looking at autism as a "terrible disorder," we can provide opportunities for growth to those with the condition.

After reading nurse Wood’s inspirational story, were you challenged? How can you help others in your own community?

Inspirational People