Atlanta Nurse Donates Kidney to Hospital Patient

"The donor networks want to be sure that a patient is well in remission after a diagnosis like that in order to make sure that the transplant isn't in vain," Batson said.

He got on a list six months ago, she said.

Dr. Michael Millis, director of the University of Chicago's Transplant Center, said the length of testing and the wait to get on a list depends on the disease.

"Tests can be done in a relatively short time but if treatment needs to be done before receiving an organ transplant, that treatment may take a while and, in this case, doctors felt it may take a year or so in order for his body to accept a kidney," Millis said.

Taber's mother began undergoing testing to see whether she'd be a match. At that point, Batson approached Sandra Taber, 54, with an unexpected offer.

"I discussed it with my husband, I'm the same O-positive blood type, our children are grown and healthy, I'm healthy, so why not?" Batson said. "It breaks my heart he just wanted to start his life. I've seen my children start their lives and he deserves that."

Batson told Sandra Taber that if for any reason she or anyone else in their circle was not able to donate a kidney that she would be willing to.

"My mother came and told me what Allison said and I just broke down crying," Taber said. "I told her that she didn't have to do that but that just her offering that is incredible."

After several tests, doctors determined that Taber's mother was not able to be a donor. Unfortunately, the lining of her kidneys were too thin for transplantation so it was determined surgery would not be safe. Once again, Batson approached the mother in grief and reminded her that her offer to be a donor still stands.

After several weeks of testing, doctors determined they were a match and Batson was healthy enough to undergo surgery.

"I was so excited and I wasn't afraid at all," Batson said. "I trust our program and our surgeons and I've seen amazing outcomes."

Taber and Batson underwent transplant surgery last week. They have been discharged from the hospital and say they are well and on the road to a full recovery.

About 37 percent of kidney transplants performed nationwide are made possible by living donors, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing . Most living donors are family members of the recipient but a growing number do not have a family relationship.

Dr. Millis said he has experienced heath care providers donating an organ to a patient at his institution as well.

"We've had a transplant financial coordinator donate and others in our organization," Millis said. "It really demonstrates all the good of society and certainly of health care providers to give this terrific gift."

Dr. Jeffrey Punch, chief of the Section of Transplantation Surgery at the University of Michigan, said such donations are uncommon but that there are good outcomes when people are not blood relatives.

"Finding a match is much less important than it used to be," Punch said. "The most important thing is finding a person healthy enough to be allowed to donate that is willing."

Taber said Batson has now become his third mom.

"I have my mom, my fiancée's mom, and I have her," he said. "She's adopted me as a son and she'll get a special dance at my wedding this summer. I told her she gets to pick the song."

Batson said her goal is to promote donation in hopes of helping the 112,624 people still waiting for organ transplants.

"It's not just about signing it on your driver's license," she said. "A kidney donation, for example, is just a few weeks from your life that you're transferring into more years for another person's life."

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