Transplants

Family of quadriplegic mother who chose to come off life support meets organ recipient

The family of a 40-year-old mother who chose to come off life support after an accident left her critically injured met one of the recipients of her organs Wednesday, nearly a year after she made the selfless decision. Kammey Bagwell, who signed up to be an organ donor in 2010, had joined her fiancé for a motorcycle ride on April 30, 2016 when tragedy struck, The Star-Telegram reported.

“The bike just locked up,” Mike Parsons, Bagwell’s fiancé, told the news outlet. 

Bagwell suffered a broken neck and had to be resuscitated at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. Doctors reportedly told her she would live for up to five years but would spend them as a quadriplegic dependent on a ventilator.

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“She was lucid, and [the doctor] says, ‘Do you want to stay or do you want to go home?’” her mother, Neta Acuna, told The Star-Telegram. “And she indicated she wanted to go home. She told doctors to take her off the ventilator.”

Her family told the Star-Telegram that Bagwell wanted it done instantly so that her organs were healthy enough to donate to others. Tasha Horton, manager of LifeGift, an organ procurement organization, told the news outlet that Bagwell “had no fear in her eye.”

“We did speak to her,” she told the Star-Telegram. “She was able to communicate by nodding her head yes and no. She communicated without any fear that she wanted to donate her organs after she passed away.”

Dwight Douglas, 67, received one of Bagwell’s organs after her May 2 death.

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“It’s like a whole new life not to have to deal with dialysis, so you can be assured I’m going to take care of Kammey’s kidney,” Douglas told The Star-Telegram. “Compared to all of the other things I have to do, that will be an easy job.”

On Wednesday, one of Bagwell’s three children, along with Parsons and Acuna, met with Douglas, who reassured them he would protect her organ.

“It’s wonderful,” Douglas told The Star-Telegram. “I got my life back.”

Bagwell’s name has been etched into Texas Health Fort Worth’s Wall of Life, to honor where the transplant took place. She will also be honored in a memorial slideshow at John Peter Smith Hospital.