In general, it is a nurse’s job to help save lives, especially if they work in the ICU. But Allison Batson is a nurse who gave the gift of life to a patient in a way that goes beyond her job requirements. She donated her kidney to a patient to help him live.
The patient is Clay Taber, 23, who suffered double kidney failure in 2010. He had just graduated from Auburn University and moved back to Georgia when he became ill. He was being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta when he first met nurse Allison Batson, a 48 year-old transplantation nurse.
After five days of testing regarding his kidney failure, he was diagnosed with Goodpasture’s Syndrome, a rare kidney disease that affects approximately 1 in a million people each year. The reason that he was at Emory University Hospital is because this hospital specializes in kidney diseases.
“I was just trying to start my life, start my career, even wanted to propose to my girlfriend soon and then I had to deal with all this. It was frustrating,” Taber said.
As doctors and nurses visited him frequently in his room, he didn’t think it was unusual with nurse Allison Batson came to see him. She had heard of Batson entering her hospital and she wanted to meet him.
“It hit close to home because I have kids between the ages of 16 and 27. I thought it wasn’t fair,” Batson said, adding that her father died of liver disease in 1995. When Batson went into Taber’s room, she said, “I heard there’s a good-looking young man in here.”
Over the next month, Batson and Taber’s family grew close as she offered sympathy and support to Taber’s mother. Even though she often wasn’t assigned to Tabor, she would come into his room every day after her shift. A friendship blossomed from there as she even gave Tabor some ideas on how to propose to his future fiancee.
Taber was discharged but he returned to Emory University once a month for check-ups and he always made it a point to see nurse Batson.
A year later, in August 2011, doctors felt that Taber was ready for a transplant. He was placed on the transplant waiting list along with 90,000 other people living in the U.S. waiting for a kidney.
Taber’s mother was interested to see if she would be a match and underwent testing to determine if she would be a fit. But nurse Batson approached Taber’s mother and made a selfless 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.”
Shortly thereafter, Taber and Batson underwent transplant surgery early in 2012. The surgery was successful and they have long been on the road to full recovery. This story shows that there is still good in humanity and people like nurse Batson renew my faith in people.