RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — A Riverside County hospital staffer who has coronavirus is set to be a kidney donor for her husband, who now has also has COVID-19, meaning they now have to reschedule their surgery.
A few weeks ago the virus sent Lucy Shannon, the general surgery residency coordinator at Riverside Community Hospital, was sent to the emergency room with severe chest pain.
“The chest pain was on a scale of 1-10, it was like an 8 for four days,” Shannon said.
She’s now recovering at home but recently found out her husband has also tested positive for coronavirus.
“I want to be healthy and I want to be alive so I could save a life because my husband is in end-stage renal disease,” Shannon said.
Her husband needs a kidney transplant to save his life, and fortunately, Shannon is a match so she’ll be able to donate one of her kidneys to him.
The transplant director at Riverside Community Hospital, Dr. Anand Annamali, says transplant surgeries are still happening, but coronavirus is making those types of procedures more difficult to take place.
“Every single donor gets a nasal swab and they’re screened for symptoms,” Annamali said.
Recipients also go through the same screening procedures to be sure they’re not showing any symptoms of coronavirus.
Dr. Annamali said transplants at Riverside Community Hospital are happening on pace with previous non-coronavirus years, but that could change if the surge across the region worsens.
“If the nurses are overworked and the hospitals are strained in that level, that does have an impact on our ability to do it,” Annamali said.
As for Shannon and her husband, they said it could be months before his transplant, so for now she’s hoping to get back to work — even if all she can do is encourage her colleagues to get the coronavirus vaccine.
“We really need to promote it. I can’t wait to get back to work to get my vaccine,” Shannon said.
Shannon said she’s hoping to be coronavirus-free to save her husband and meet her firstborn granddaughter, who was born while she was forced into isolation.