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A patient gets a unique gift from a nurse: a kidney

Nurses often go above and beyond the call of duty to help patients, but they usually don’t go to the lengths Allison Batson did. She donated a kidney to one.

The recipient is 23-year-old Clay Taber, who had been treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for kidney failure in 2010. The Auburn University graduate was diagnosed with Goodpasture’s syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease that can result in severe damage to the kidneys and lungs.

Taber eventually would up in the transplant unit at Emory, where Batson, a transplant nurse, was working. “Immediately when Clay came onto our unit, he became a special patient that everyone just gravitated to,” she said in a news release. “Here was this young man with everything in his life ahead of him, and he was fighting for his life. He quickly became friends of many of the staff, and really was just a tremendous inspiration to us all.”

Batson continued to visit with Taber, and by the time he was discharged to continue dialysis treatments at home, Batson offered him her kidney if it was a match, since she had the same O-negative blood type.

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Taber’s mother was screened as a donor in August 2011, but wasn’t compatible. In October Taber was visiting Emory University Hospital and met up with Batson, who made the offer again. This time he didn’t turn her down.

Batson was found to be a match, and earlier this month the two underwent a living donor transplant.

“People have asked me why I would do this for a stranger, or what if I had a family member in need one day, or why would I risk my own life or health for someone I barely know,” she said in the release. “My answer is because I can. Sure, I have children who might possibly be in need one day, but here was this young man right in front of me who needs help--today, and I am in a position to help him--today.” She added that she hopes her story will make others aware of living donations.

Living kidney donations have generally been on the rise in recent years. The Organ Procurement and Transplant Network reported 4,721 live kidney donations in 1999 in the U.S., and 6,277 in 2010. There are currently 90,519 people on a waiting list for a kidney.

The National Kidney Foundation has more information on kidney donations.


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