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Vegas professor fights for life when her body rejects lung transplant

Reported by: Denise Rosch
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Updated: 12/05/2012 11:34 am
A local professor is in the fight of her life waiting for treatment after her body began rejecting a lung transplant she had five years ago. News 3's Denise Rosch has her story and how Nevada measures up when it comes to organ donation.

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- “Hi my name is Amaris Hayden and I'm an English professor at the College of Southern Nevada,” says Amaris Hayden in a video that is less than six minutes long.

Hayden, 36, talks directly to the camera from her hospital bed inside University Medical Center's critical care unit.

The Las Vegas mother is battling the donated lungs she received in a transplant five years ago. The organs her body is now rejecting.

“That year I had a lot to be thankful for and every year,” Hayden says. “My lungs, my life, and especially more time with my son. To raise him and be with him.”

This week Hayden's insurance company gave the OK to transfer her to a lung transplant center in Seattle, Wash., the very hospital where the original procedure was done.

Her Facebook friends are encouraging the insurance company to act quickly, but according to her son and sister time is running out.

“We're not even sure what we’re going to be able to do up in Seattle,” said her son Alex Hayden. “All we know is that they know the best. They were her original doctors and here it's not going to help. So that's the only chance we really have.”

One thing that is clear, Hayden is not eligible for another transplant. She's already had two. Still, the family knows all too well the importance of organ donation. And here in Nevada only 40 percent of the adult population are registered donors. Fear and myth scaring many people away.

“One of the most common myth is that the doctors are not going to try as hard to save a life if a person is an organ donor,” said Kate McCullough with the Nevada Donor Network. “That couldn't be further from the truth. When you go to a hospital a lot of times they don't know your name let alone if you're an organ donor.”

Amaris' sister holds on to hope.

“I want everything to be donated, wanted to be used to the fullest extent it can be,” says Amaris’ sister Cristina Hayden. “But if I feel I could save a life...”

A life like Amaris Hayden's who is leaving Las Vegas in search of a few more years with her son.

“They say they're waiting for me to stabilize before they transfer me, but the longer I wait, the worse it gets,” Amaris Hayden says. “So we're hoping and praying it happens soon.”



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