1The Man Who was Given the Heart of a Suicide Victim, Married the Donor's Widow, and then Killed Himself in Exactly the Same Way
A man who received the transplanted heart of a suicide victim has killed himself in exactly the same way.
Astonishingly, the same wife is mourning all over again.
Sonny Graham, who had received Terry Cottle's heart, also went on to marry his widow. Along with his attraction to the donor's wife, the new heart also gave Mr. Graham a strange new craving for beer and hot dogs – Terry Cottle's favorite foods.
The couple met after Mr. Graham started writing to her after being told that her husband was his heart donor. Twelve years after the successful transplant operation, Mr. Graham shot himself, leaving his wife a widow for the second time in strikingly similar circumstances.
Friends say that Mrs. Graham, a nurse, is stunned by the bizarre turn of events. Mr. Graham, 69, died after shooting himself in the throat with a shotgun. He was found in a garage at the home that the couple shared.
In 1995, Mr. Graham had been on the verge of death due to congestive heart failure. He had less than six months to live when the call came through from the Medical University of South Carolina, telling him that a heart had just become available. It belonged to Mr. Cottle, 33, who had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
2The Man Who Wore a Sandwich Board for a Year to Find a Kidney for His Dying Wife
As far as devotion goes, it doesn't get any better than American Larry Swilling in his bid to find his dying wife a kidney. The 78-year-old man was so determined to give his wife, Jimmie Sue, a second chance at life that he walked the streets of his hometown in South Carolina with a sandwich board sign for a year to find a donor.
Jimmie Sue, 76, who was born with only one kidney, was told that she would need a new one after it started failing, giving her only months to live.
Mr. Swilling and the couple's three children proved to be unsuitable matches and they faced a lengthy waiting list for a suitable organ.
Mr. Swilling, who has been married for 57 years, said that he couldn't imagine life without his wife and was determined to save her, so he set out to find her a kidney.
Hundreds of people contacted him to undergo testing to see if they were a suitable match after learning of his plight.
In September 2013, their hopes and wishes were finally granted after retired Navy lieutenant commander Kelly Weaverling donated one of her kidneys in a lifesaving operation.
The procedure was hailed as a success, with the couple meeting Ms. Weaverling to personally thank her for her generous gift.
3The Father Who had to Choose Between Donating His Kidney to His Sick Daughter or Son
It's the ultimate dilemma – choosing which of your children's lives to save. Antony Levin faced it when first his daughter Jade and then, a year later, his son Keegan, needed a kidney transplant. The 47-year-old hotel manager from Reading could save one of their lives – but not both.
He eventually decided to give it to the one who needed it first. It turned out to be Jade.
Jade was diagnosed with degenerative kidney disease in 2004, an inherited condition. The flawed gene had passed from generation to generation with no symptoms before Antony and Victoria – both carriers – met. However, with every child the situation became worse. Their eldest child, Jesse, now 18, didn't have it at all. Keegan, 13, who was born four years later had the disease, but it didn't show up until Jade, 11, was already ill. As the third child, she was affected the worst.
Jade is doing great after the transplant, and now Keegan is on a kidney waiting list.
4The Woman Who Donated Her Kidney to a Stranger and Then Married Him Four Years Later
A young man who was offered a kidney to replace his ailing ones by a girl he'd only just met married her four years later. Chelsea Clair and Kyle Froelich met in 2009 at a car show when they were 22 and 19 years old, respectively.
After a lengthy battle trying to find suitable matches, Kyle had been told by doctors not to keep up his hopes of finding a donor to replace his struggling kidneys. However, Chelsea offered hers to the teen on the day they met in Indiana, US.
They ended up being an almost perfect match.
As serendipity would have it, Kyle's numerous mismatches drifted into obscurity when the two underwent surgery one year later and she successfully donated one of her kidneys. After accompanying each other to hospital appointments, they began to fall in love.
They married on October 12, 2013 and replaced "in sickness and in health" with "I offer you my hand, my heart and my soul, as I know they will be safe with you."
5The Mother Who was Denied Organs from Her Daughter
A mother in desperate need of a kidney transplant has been denied the organs of her dying daughter. Laura Ashworth, 21, was unconscious for days after she suffered massive brain damage following a suspected asthma attack.
Her mother Rachel Leake, 39, who has kidney failure, was at her bedside when she died at Bradford Royal Infirmary. However, Ms. Ashworth's kidneys were given to strangers despite her personal wish to help her mother. Ms. Ashworth, the mother of a two-year-old girl, was on the NHS Organ Donor Register and had told her mother that she would help her if the time came – but this was never formally recorded.
Ms. Leake, from Bierley, West Yorkshire, said her daughter would have been upset that she was able to help other people and not her own mother. Ms. Leake has suffered from kidney failure for seven years after developing complications from diabetes.
The Human Tissue Authority (HTA), the body responsible for implementing the consent requirements of the 2004 Human Tissue Act, defended its decision to allocate Ms. Ashworth's organs to strangers. Adrian McNeil, chief executive of the HTA, said, “The central principle of matching and allocating organs from the deceased is that they are allocated to the person on the UK Transplant waiting list who is most in need and who is the best match with the donor."
The mother died a year later.
6The Woman Who was Fired After Donating Her Kidney to Her Boss
After giving the gift of life, a New York mom received her worst nightmare in return. To help her boss move up the transplant waiting list, Debbie Stevens, 47, donated her kidney to a man in Missouri, enabling her employer to secure a perfect match from someone in San Francisco.
But her boss, Jackie Brucia, 61, wasn't too grateful; she started putting pressure on for her to return to work soon after the procedure, even though she didn't feel well enough. Once Stevens came back to her job at the Atlantic Automotive Group (AAG), the divorced mother says that she lost her overtime pay and was demoted to a dealership 50 miles from her home.
After lawyers wrote a letter to the company, Stevens was allegedly fired.
The generous mother is now demanding the organ back.
7The Five-Week-Old Baby Who Became Britain's Youngest Organ Donor
A five-week-old baby is a lifesaver after becoming Britain's youngest organ donor ever. The infant's tiny kidneys were donated to 22-year-old Samira Kauser and transplanted during a seven-hour operation at St. James's University Hospital in Leeds.
The organs were just 4cm long but will grow to up to three-quarters the size of a normal adult's. Together with the liver, heart, and lungs, a baby's kidneys are fully functioning after 37 weeks in the womb.
Ms. Kauser, from Halifax, who was spending nine hours a night on dialysis after a genetic condition caused her kidneys to fail, plans to get married next year.
The transplant had reignited the debate about whether organs from so-called "beating heart" babies, who are being kept alive on ventilators but are certified as brain dead, should be made available to patients on the donor waiting list.
8The Facebook Feature that Allows Users to Add Their Donor Status to Their Profile
In 2012, Facebook and the NHS announced a new partnership to help raise organ donation awareness by encouraging users to publicize their donor status on their social network profiles.
Timeline users are now given the option to publish their official organ donor status alongside their employer, relationship information, and date of birth at the top of their profile page. Users who are not currently on the Organ Donor Register are given the option to sign up via Facebook's new "Health and Wellbeing" button .
The NHS Blood and Transport service and Facebook hope that the initiative will help significantly boost organ donation awareness and inspire more people to sign up.
9The Nurse Who Accidentally Threw Away a Kidney that a Brother had Donated to His Sister
A Toledo woman and her family are suing the hospital that threw out a kidney that her brother had donated to her. Sarah Fudacz, then 24, was awaiting the kidney from younger brother Paul Fudacz Jr., but a nurse at the University of Toledo Medical Center mistakenly tossed the organ, which was sitting in a temperature-controlled slush machine, before it could be transplanted in the Aug. 10, 2012 operation.
The bungle happened when circulating nurse Melanie Lemay, who was covering for part-time nurse Judith K. Moore during her lunch break, failed to properly update Moore on the status of the surgery after she returned from her break. Moore then unknowingly discarded the kidney along with the other contents of the slush machine. The kidney was recovered but was unusable.
The hospital found another kidney for Fudacz and paid for her transportation to Colorado to receive surgery on Nov. 13, 2012.
10The Clumsy Medics Who Dropped a Donor Heart on the Ground at the Airport
If there's one thing that you have to handle carefully it's someone's heart. Unfortunately, a transplant patient risked losing hers to a stretch of tarmac after fumbling medics dropped the donor organ on the ground.
Luckily, it was only the pride of the medical staff that was injured after their embarrassing tumble was caught on camera.The heart was later successfully transplanted after what police rather optimistically called "a rapid, precision manoeuvre" to transport the organ.
The donor heart had been carefully packaged and rushed onto a charter helicopter flight with just a few hours to reach the patient. But in their haste to unload the precious cargo, one medic tripped and sent its waterproof coolbox tumbling to the ground – together with ice and a bag of saline – in front of waiting media.
Despite its dramatic tumble, the heart was apparently unharmed and was successfully given to a 20-year-old woman during a four-hour operation in Mexico City.
I take it all the five-second rule jokes have been done, right?