‚His mother can put her hands on me and feel him breathing‘: Lung transplant patient gets rare opportunity to meet the family of the man who saved her life
Lyndsey McLaughlin met Diana Rodriguez whose son’s lungs she received
Ms McLaughlin has cystic fibrosis and wouldn’t have lived without the op
Adrian Rodriguez was just 18 when he slipped in front of a train and died
By Emma Innes
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PUBLISHED: 14:37 GMT, 29 November 2013 | UPDATED: 16:03 GMT, 29 November 2013
|Lindsey McLaughlin (right), 28, met Diana Rodriguez (left). Ms McLaughlin would not be alive today if Ms Rodriguez had not agreed to donate her son’s lungs when he died in an accident at the age of 18|
A young woman has been given the opportunity to meet the mother of the man who, through his death, saved her life. Lyndsey McLaughlin, 28, met Diana Rodriguez whose 18-year-old son’s lungs she was given during life-saving transplant surgery. Normally, organ donors legally have to remain anonymous but the two New York women were so keen to meet that they made it happen. Ms McLaughlin, who has cystic fibrosis, nearly died while waiting for a lung transplant, ABC News reports.
She struggled for every breath and had been told she did not have long to live.At the time she told ABC News: ‘I’m 26 years old. I should be out every Friday and Saturday night. I should be at the bars having a couple of drinks, not worrying about how many medicines I’m going to have to take the next day.’ Lyndsey’s mother, Donna McLaughlin, added: ‘I used to go to her apartment every day when she really got sick… and I would walk to work crying knowing that my daughter was dying before my eyes and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.’
After seven months on the New York organ donor list, Ms McLaughlin received a call to say a donor had been found. During lengthy and complicated surgery on April 3, 2011, at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Ms McLaughlin received Adrian Rodriguez’s lungs.
The aspiring chef had been declared brain dead after being hit by a train when he slipped and fell on the station platform on his way to school. After the surgery, Ms McLaughlin says she was haunted by thoughts of the person who saved her life – at the time, all she knew was that he was an 18-year-old man from New York.
As a result, she contacted the New York Organ Donor Network and was told her donor’s family was as keen to meet up as she was. The meeting gave Ms McLaughlin and her family the chance to thank Ms Rodriguez in person.
Donna McLaughlin explained that she cannot imagine how Ms Rodrigues felt the day her son died. She said she just hopes Ms Rodrigues knows how grateful they are that she decided to allow her son’s organs to be donated. Ms McLaughlin told ABC News: ‘It’s crazy for me to think that she can literally put her hands here and she can feel it’s him breathing. It’s him breathing and I’m breathing with him.’ Ms McLaughlin added that she thinks about Adrian all of the time and that she is always thanking him.