American's donated organs give Israelis second chance at life

One of the kidney recipients, 36-year-old Muhammad Badarna, had been suffering from kidney failure since childhood: "Thank you from the depth of my heart.”

February 12, 2017 17:00
2 minute read.
Doctors perform surgery [illustrative].

Doctors perform surgery [illustrative].. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Jennifer Morello, the American daughter of Craig Richard Morello who suffered lower- brain death in an accident 10 days ago and who donated his organs, actually thanked Muhammad Badarna for undergoing a transplant and allowing Craig’s kidney to live on.

After the accident, in which he fell in the street, Morello – a US citizen living here – was brought to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center with a critical brain injury from a fall. While the medical team fought for two days to save his life, the hospital staff took on the task of detectives to locate his family. After examining Morello’s belongings, senior nurse Sarit Honen learned that Morello was an American citizen who had converted to Judaism and checked with the Interior Ministry to get more information.

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She learned that Morello had a daughter, Jennifer, but officials did not know where she was currently living. The nurse pushed on, using Facebook to contact Jennifer, but messages remained unanswered. Honen finally made contact with official from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv who were able to find someone connected with Morello – his ex-wife Lizette’s sister who lives with her family in Israel. With the help of the sister, Honen was finally able to make contact with Jennifer via a video chat on Facebook messenger. Rambam Drama: American Patient’s Death Saves Israeli Lives (YouTube/Rambam HCC)

Unfortunately, while Morello’s daughter and his ex-wife were finally located, his condition continued to decline and he died. But through continued contact between Rambam and Jennifer, permission was given to donate her father’s organs, a gesture that brought new hope to five Israelis who received kidneys, retinas, skin and a heart valve. One of the kidney recipients, 36-year-old Muhammad Badarna, had been suffering from kidney failure since childhood.

Bandaged days after surgery, the Israeli-Arab man was almost speechless in Rambam when the women thanked him in Hebrew for keeping Craig’s kidney alive. “I am deeply moved,” Badarna said. “I don’t know how to thank you. Thank you from the depth of my heart.”

Lizette was just as emotional as she spoke with Badarna and shared about the man to whom she had been married for 12 years. “He loved to play musical instruments and sing. He was a good man with a sense of humor, smart and witty. He knew everything about everything. There was not a bad bone in his body. He love and accepted everyone. He was a free spirit, and he died in the place he loved – Israel.”

She paused, and then continued: “I am happy you received a second chance and that Craig lives on in you and others.”

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