Soldier Says Army Won't Let Him Give Kidney To Mother
HANOVER, N.H. --
A soldier from New Hampshire says the Army is standing in the way of lifesaving kidney donor surgery for his mother.
Army Spc. Frank Chapman, 27, is a match to his mother, Patricia Chapman, who suffers from kidney disease and is on dialysis three days a week. They are scheduled for transplant surgery June 13 in Florida., where Patricia Chapman lives.
Chapman, his wife and her two children are all packed up to move -- he had sought a compassionate reassignment from the Army so they could care for Patricia, who lives in Dunnellon, Fla., after the surgery. But the plans are in limbo after the family learned last month that Army medical officials are denying permission for the surgery, which they say could lead to medical problems for Chapman down the road.
"How would you tell your mom two weeks before the surgery that, 'Oops, I can't give you a kidney," Chapman told KSWO-TV in Lawton.
Chapman said the denial is over a high blood pressure reading at a hospital, which he disputes, noting he has been cleared for surgery by doctors at Reynolds Army Community Hospital at Fort Sill and Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where the surgery is scheduled.
Chapman's wife, Tiffany, said the high reading is because her husband gets nervous on doctor visits and that readings on a home meter all have been in a healthy range.
Tiffany Chapman said Friday that when they learned the surgery might be possible, they sought help and permission from Army medical officials to make sure everything was in order. They say they followed instructions, only to find out at the last minute that they needed approval from the surgeon general in the U.S. Army Medical Department.
"This thing totally blows our mind," said Tiffany Chapman, who grew up in Hanover, N.H., and is a graduate of Hanover High School. Frank Chapman grew up in Norwich, Vt., graduated from Hanover High. The Chapmans lived in Hanover before moving to Oklahoma last July.
"He's trying to do the honorable thing, which is what the military is preaching all the time," said Tiffany Chapman.
"He is the healthiest man I know," she added.
The timing is urgent because Patricia Chapman, 54, has been on dialysis for three years and her health is deteriorating, said Patience Marsh, Frank's sister.
"If she doesn't get the transplant, it's just like a ticking time bomb. Basically dialysis kills you over time and you can't live for too long," said Marsh, who lives in Lisbon, N.H.
"It needs to happen now or it's not going to happen," Marsh said.
A spokesman for the Army Medical Department said he was not familiar with the specifics of Chapman's case and referred queries to Fort Sill. A Fort Sill spokeswoman was seeking answers to a reporter's questions on Friday afternoon.
A change could be in the works.
After the Chapman's disputed the decision, the Army medical officials agreed to a reconsider their opinion following a 24-hour period of blood pressure monitoring. Tiffany Chapman said Friday the monitor is being shipped to them in Fort Sill.
The family also has appealed for help from New Hampshire U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, who represents the Hanover-Lebanon area. A spokeswoman said his office is trying to cut through some of the red tape.
Regardless, Chapman said nothing is going to stop him from helping his mother, even if it means punishment from the military for disobeying orders.
"I told my mother that I will definitely be there, no later than the 10th of June," he said, adding, "Regardless of what the military has to say."
Soldier Says Army Won't Let Him Give Kidney To Mother - News Story - WCVB Boston