Bone Marrow Donation Gone Wrong: Principal Dies Helping A Stranger

A school principal suffered health complications after undergoing a bone marrow donation procedure to help a stranger in France. He was marked a blood match to the teenager and shared his thoughts to his school’s paper before his passing.

Dr. Nelson voluntarily extended his helping hand to a National Marrow Donor Program based in the U.S. The organization helps cancer patients match with bone marrow and cord blood donors including financial support. He was then told that his blood was a possible match for a 14-year old in France. Subsequently, he went to an accredited hospital to undergo the bone marrow donation procedure.

Last Sunday night, Dr. Derrick Nelson, principal of Westfield High School in New Jersey and former US Army Reserve for 20 years, unexpectedly died from a bone marrow transplant, reported CNN. According to his fiancé Sheronda Braker, he was a tremendous father to daughter Morgan and was renowned for his kindness within his local community.

Several others shared their sympathies and commended the late doctor’s passion to help others. In a letter to parents, Westfield Public Schools Superintendent Margaret Dolan said that Dr. Nelson had a positive attitude and extended her condolences to his family. She also noted that his family has requested privacy concerning his health complications after the procedure. Thus, the reason for his death was not publicized.

A friend of the departed, Salim Sivaad who is widely known under his musician name Wayne Clemmons also revealed that the death of his college roommate and fraternity brother was a shock. He was unaware that complications could arise from a bone marrow donation.

As per Be The Match, the organization Dr. Nelson contacted, bone marrow donation is one of the two methods conducted to collect blood-forming cells for bone marrow transplants. The process involves a surgical procedure that may only be performed in a hospital operating room. Doctors who perform the surgery use huge needles that extract liquid marrow from the back of the pelvic bone.

The donor would be injected with anesthesia to numb the pain of the procedure. Afterward, the extracted liquid marrow would then be transported to the donee’s location and used for the transplant. This process benefits cancer patients who need fresh cells to replace those damaged by cancer cells.

The common side effects of the bone marrow donation surgery usually emerge two days after the procedure. These include back pain, fatigue, throat pain, muscle pain, insomnia, headache, dizziness, loss of appetite and nausea. Full recovery takes 20 days but may last up to a year for some donors. Dr. Nelson was aware of the risks and the reason behind his passing was not revealed.

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