Published: Fri, April 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Westfield principal dies after donating marrow to teen, father says

Westfield principal dies after donating marrow to teen, father says

A New Jersey high school principal who had agreed to donate bone marrow to a 14-year-old stranger in France has died, weeks after he lapsed into a coma during the procedure, his family said.

"We really don't know the full story of what happened". He underwent the donation procedure last February, which left him in a coma.

"Marrow donation is a selfless decision that helps save the lives of thousands of patients each year ... we thank anyone who steps forward to donate and help save a life". "But he didn't make it", his devastated father said. In February Nelson told the school newspaper that he chose to go forward with the procedure.

A New Jersey high school principal died Sunday after trying to help save the life of a 14-year-old boy in France he never met, his family has said.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Dr Nelson, to all of his students and their families, the community, his friends and colleagues whose lives he touched", Ms Radwin said.

Derrick Nelson couldn't go under general anesthesia for the procedure because of sleep apnea, which makes sedation extremely unsafe, according to Inside Edition. She said doctors have not said what might have caused the fatal reaction.

Also at a physical exam in Jan., Nelson learned that he carried sickle cell trait.

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In one rare case, Lina Joy, a dental office manager in California, contracted a staph infection and fell into a coma after donating bone marrow in 1997.

Derrick Nelson joined Westfield Public Schools in 2010 as the assistant principal of Roosevelt Intermediate School.

According to the National Marrow Donor Program, only 2.4 per cent of donors experience serious complications, which typically come either from the use of anesthesia or from damage to bones, nerves or muscles in the hip region.

In addition to his parents, Nelson's survivors include a fiancee and a 6-year-old daughter, local media outlets reported.

Nelson, who was an officer with the U.S. Army Reserve for more than 20 years, became principal at the high school in 2017.

"He loved his family nearly beyond belief". His previous military service included assignments in the Middle East. "The Change.org petition suggesting that Westfield High School be renamed to Derrick Nelson High School further illustrates the enormous respect the community holds for Dr. Nelson", said Board of Education President Peggy Oster in a statement.

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