There is a culture of caring at CHG Healthcare that seems to attract like-minded people. Our core value of “Putting People First” goes much deeper than just a sign on the wall. It’s a heart-felt philosophy that changes — and sometimes even saves — lives!
Giving of yourself — literally
CHG Healthcare’s Nick Lambert took caring to a whole new level when he donated a kidney to help a co-worker’s family. Here’s how it happened.
When Nick learned that his coworker Maren Winget’s husband, Kristopher, was suffering from kidney disease, he wanted to help. Kristopher’s condition was deteriorating rapidly, so Maren took their private battle public with a social media post. When Nick saw Maren’s plea, something about it stayed with him.
“Having a universal blood type, I always tease everybody that I’m just spare parts,” Nick says with a laugh. “That’s why people keep me around.”
He knew Maren and Kristopher were about the same age as he and his wife. Both families had daughters the same age. “That kind of pulls at your heartstrings a little,” he says. “I put myself in their shoes and I thought, how would I feel in that situation? Potentially waiting for someone to die so that I could live is a rough spot to be in.”
Learning about the donor process
Without saying anything to Maren or Kristopher, Nick started exploring the organ donor process.
“It wasn’t like it was a snap decision,” he says. “The first step when you’re a donor is that they educate you on what happens and what could happen. The more I learned about it, the less it seemed like it was a big deal.”
First, there was an extensive education process. Kidney donation does not reduce the donor’s lifespan, nor does it increase the chances of getting kidney disease. Then there was the medical testing. There were full-body scans and x-rays. There was psychological testing to make sure Nick was donating for the right reasons. There were countless interviews and doctor’s appointments. At every step of the way, Nick was reminded he could change his mind.
Donors have the option of specifying who their organ will go to, but recipients never find out unless the donor agrees to share the information. Nick was nearly finished with the screening process when he told Maren and Kristopher the good news: He was a match, and he was willing to be Kristopher’s donor.
Hope for the future
Post-transplant, both men are doing well. Kristopher’s body is adjusting to his new, healthy kidney. He takes daily anti-rejection medications but describes them as “no big deal.” Nick says other than an “awesome” scar, he’s had no real side effects.
Maren says, “Nick downplays it a lot. I don’t think he realizes how rare it is to get a donor so quickly and to find a match. He’s ensuring that my husband is going to be around for my daughter and for me. It’s a huge, huge deal.”
Kristopher adds, “He’s got no idea how much this changes my life and my future.”
Nick says he too has been the recipient of something precious. “I don’t think they realize the positive impact it’s had on me and my family.”