Everyday Heroes

Nurse Adopts Man So He Could Get A Heart Transplant

When she found out that he was removed from the list because he lacked a caretaker, she didn't hesitate to act.

It's no secret that nurses have big hearts. Lori Wood is no exception.

Wood is an ICU nurse at Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Coweta County, GA. She met a young man named Jonathan Pinkard during an emergency room visit. Pinkard, 27, got sick last year and doctors told him he needed a heart transplant to survive.

Pinkard (pictured below with Wood) is high functioning autistic, and he doesn't have any family aside from his mother who is currently in a rehab facility. He was often discharged to a men's shelter after his doctor appointments because he didn't have a home to go to.

Due to the high level of care that is needed after surgery, Pinkard was removed from the transplant list. Since he didn't have a caretaker, there was no way to guarantee he would be responsible enough to keep himself healthy, including going to follow up appointments and taking anti-rejection medications.

When Wood found out that Pinkard was taken off the transplant list, she asked if she could become his legal guardian - even though she'd only known him for 2 days.

"I think at some point God places people and situations in your life and you have a choice to do something about it," Wood said in a video posted on the hospital's Facebook page . "For me with this situation there was no choice. I had a room, I was a nurse, I could take care of him. So it really wasn't anything that I struggled about it was just something that had to happen. He had to come home with me."

After a successful transplant surgery, Pinkard is recovering nicely at Wood's home.

"Miss Lori has been awesome. She's very loveable to me, and not only me but to her son as well," he said. "They really treat me like family, I'm really thankful."

Here's Pinkard with Lori Wood and her son, Austin (right).

Wood takes him to his appointments on her days off and she says the family has bonded over football games and episodes of "Family Feud."

One of Wood's colleagues, Kerri Hamilton, nominated her for the hospital's 360 President's Award which recognizes "deserving employees who go above and beyond for patients, visitors or their co-workers."

"She's uprooted everything to do this, to take care of him. To me it was above and beyond anything and she deserves to be recognized for it," Hamilton said. "If I could just be half the nurse that she is and to have the compassion that she has, then I will have done a good job."

Needless to say, Wood won the award. She also won the hearts of people nationwide for showing compassion to a stranger when he needed it most.

Check out the video below to hear more about Wood and Pinkard's story...

(c/o Peidmont Healthcare)

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(Source: images Jonathan Shandrake Pinkard Facebook )

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