Atlanta Nurse Donates Kidney To Save Patient's Life

nurse kidney transplant for patientAn Atlanta nurse is being praised for going beyond the call of duty for donating a kidney to save a patient with a rare autoimmune disorder.

The nurse, Allison Batson, 48, donated one of her kidneys to 23-year-old Clay Taber, a patient diagnosed with Goodpasture's Syndrome nearly two years ago. (The two are pictured at left.) The disorder causes the human body to fight against its own tissues, creating antibodies that attack the lungs and kidneys, according to Emory Hospital, where the surgery took place.

Taber was a recent college graduate in August 2010 when he began feeling ill, which included night sweats. A doctor's visit and blood tests showed some signs of mononucleosis but no other symptoms, the hospital said in a statement announcing the successful transplant surgery between nurse and patient.

New tests were done showing Taber's kidneys were in complete shutdown and Taber's mother, Sarah Taber, was told that he needed to get to a hospital right away.

"Needless to say, it was one of those phone calls no parent ever wants to receive about their child," she said.

Once at the hospital, Clay Taber was diagnosed with Goodpasture's Syndrome, which affects about one in 1 million people and causes the body to fight against its own tissues.

After treatment, which include several weeks of dialysis and blood purification, he returned home. But the disease had taken its toll and Taber now needed a kidney transplant.

Taber's lengthy stay in the hospital led to many friendships among hospital staff, including Batson, who learned more about Taber, his family and life, and his vision for the future.

"He wanted to get married to his sweetheart. He just graduated from college. The whole world was his, with the exception of this incredibly rare illness that hit him out of the blue," Baston said.

"I have children his age, and I felt the same kind of pain his mother was feeling. Something inside me said I needed to do more."

So Batson, who shares with Taber the same O-negative blood type, approached his mother with an offer: If no other suitable donor could be found, she would donate one of her kidneys if possible.

Months passed but a suitable organ donor couldn't be found. Batson renewed her offer, which was accepted, and underwent thorough testing that soon confirmed she was a perfect donor match.

The surgery took place last week, and with the exception of a minor glitch during testing that led to worry the transplant might not work out, the procedure went smoothly.

As is typical among transplant donors and recipients, Batson and Taber named the donated kidney, settling on "Glitch."

"We thought it was appropriate after those last-minute worries we had over the testing," Batson said. "I like it."

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