McAllen teacher dies after donating kidney to her mother
February 12, 2011 8:30 PM
McALLEN — Myra Lee Martinez died Tuesday after saving her mother’s life.
The 28-year-old McAllen Memorial High School teacher underwent a kidney transplant in San Antonio Jan. 28 to help her mother, who was undergoing dialysis after becoming ill about a year ago, said Martinez’s father, Juan R. Martinez.
The organ donor made it through surgery, but died of complications eleven days after.
“She was willing to take that risk,” said her older sister Melinda Martinez, 33. “She said, ‘Mom, if you don’t want this kidney, I’m going to give it to somebody else.’”
Myra, whom friends and family describe as charismatic and friendly, was enthusiastic about the procedure and was fearless, her sister said.
“She would’ve been a great advocate (for kidney transplantation),” she said. “I just know it.”
Myra’s mother, who was at Rivera’s Funeral Home in McAllen on Saturday, fought the urge to cry as she spoke about her daughter.
“She was the one who took care of me,” 61-year-old Delia Martinez said. “She always made sure to be there.”
Delia, who is recuperating from the surgery, said Myra moved home from San Antonio, where she graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor’s degree in biology, to help care for her.
“It was a high price to pay,” Delia said about her newfound health. “My kidney is fine, but my heart hurts.”
The kidney recipient has been dealing with feelings of guilt, her daughter Melinda said.
“It’s real hard on her,” she said about her mother. “She sometimes feels guilty, but (Myra) would’ve done it for anybody and she said it.”
‘THE ODDS ARE’
Dying from a kidney transplant is not common, said Monique Maynuz, executive representative for South Texas Transplant Center in McAllen. However, she said, there are always risks involved.
“The odds are that it’s not going to happen,” she said. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s like any other surgical procedure. There are risks involved — even as routine as it may be.”
Maynuz could not provide any specific figures, but said two of her immediate family members are living organ donors.
“I know from personal experience that people who donate their kidneys do very well,” she said.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, death from kidney donation is very rare. Approximately 3 in 10,000 people die from the procedure.
Myra died after she hemorrhaged, her family said. The McHi graduate was conscious for the last time after the first part of the procedure, her friend Analysa Gallegos said. The 28-year-old was in the recovery room when Myra spoke her last words.
“She said ‘Iza’ and then a tear rolled down her face,” Gallegos said. “That’s the last time she spoke.”
Iza is Myra’s 5-year-old niece, whom she loved to look after, her sister Melinda said. The void she left behind will be hard to fill.
“I’m going to miss everything,” she said about her sister. “She’s an angel. She really is.”
Naxiely Lopez covers law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. She can be reached at (956) 683-4434.http://www.themonitor.com/news/mcallen-47068-donating-kidney.html