A Georgia man with autism received a life-saving heart transplant this year, thanks to an ICU nurse at Piedmont Newman Hospital.
According to a report last month by Good Morning New Orleans, Jonathan Pinkard, 27, was transferred to Piedmont Newman in 2018 after a fall at work. At the hospital, doctors told Wood he needed a heart transplant, though he was unable to meet the requirements. In December 2018, Pinkard met Lori Wood, the nurse assigned to him in the hospital.
Realizing that Pinkard was unable to qualify for a heart transplant due to lacking a support system, Wood assumed the role of legal guardian, just two days after meeting Pinkard for the first time.
“Jonathan was very sick, but he wasn’t eligible for a transplant because he didn’t have a support system,” Wood explained, adding that she felt compelled to help Pinkard because there was “no other choice.”
“When you’re a nurse and you’re wanting to fix and help people, that can be very frustrating,” Wood said in a video posted on Piedmont Healthcare’s Facebook page. “At some point, God places people in situations in your life, and you have the choice to do something about it. And I guess…for this situation there was no choice. It really wasn’t anything I struggled about. He had to come home with me.”
Pinkard successfully underwent his heart transplant in August of 2019. Wood continues to monitor his medications, takes him to doctor’s, and is also helping him with his credit score and with independent living. The pair have also bonded over a shared love of football and the game show “Family Feud.”
Pinkard expressed his gratitude for Wood’s life-saving role, and added that he hopes to return to work later this year.
“It’s kind of emotional, but at the same time, this has been a life journey for me,” Pinkard said. “If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”