Nurse Adopts Autistic ICU Patient

Nurse Adopts Autistic ICU Patient

Nurse Adopts Autistic ICU Patient

About Jonathan Pinkard

Jonathan Pinkard was in a very bad situation. Jonathan found himself first in the emergency room, then in a bed in the ICU with a sudden health issue. He needed a heart transplant, but due to his home situation, he kept getting moved off the transplant list. A high functioning autistic, Jonathan had lived for years with his grandmother. But recently, his grandmother passed away, leaving Jonathan without a caregiver.

Without a support system at home, Jonathan would never be given his heart transplant. And without the transplant, he only had a short time to live.

Enter Nurse Lori Wood

But one person wasn’t about to give up on Jonathan without a fight… his emergency room nurse, Lori Wood.

“When you’re a nurse and wanting to fix and help people that can be very frustrating if you know a patient needs something and for whatever reason they can’t have it,” she said. “I think at some point God places people and situations in your life and you have a choice to do something about it. 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.”

And Jonathan didn’t just come home with Lori. He became an official part of her family.

“Most caregivers have big hearts, but I have not seen any nearly as close to Lori. Besides needing the heart, he needed caregivers, he needed that support,” says Mike Robertson, CEO of Lori’s hospital. “Lori became that guardian and officially adopted him in order for him to get on the list. She knew what it meant for him to not have this heart and she put herself aside to take care of Jonathan and become that guardian.”

They Might as Well Be Family

Word of Lori’s decision and sacrifice spread quickly, and her status as a nurse and caregiver has reached legendary status among her co-workers. She was also nominated for (and won) the hospital’s President’s Award—given to nurses who go above and beyond in the care of their patients.

“She’s uprooted everything to do this, to take care of him,” shares Kerri Hamilton, one of Lori’s co-workers and one of the nurses who submitted Lori’s name for the award. “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.”

You can hear Jonathan himself share his gratitude in this video, published by the hospital on Facebook.

Lori is a shining example of the love and compassion shown by nurses every day for their patients. Not every nurse can literally adopt a patient (though many may want to), but if a person is lucky enough to be under the eye and care of a hardworking, well-trained nurse, they might as well be family.

Interested in starting your own career as a nurse or medical assistant? Check out the many courses offered by Unitek College, and contact us today to find out how you can begin your journey right away.