A soldier was granted leave from the Army on Thursday to head to Florida and donate his kidney to his mother.
Army Spc. Frank Chapman, 27, is a match to his 54-year-old mother, Patricia, who has kidney disease and is on dialysis three days a week. They are scheduled for transplant surgery June 13 in Florida, where she lives.
"There's a lot of stress lifted off my chest at this moment in time, because for a minute there I thought I was going to have to go AWOL," said Chapman, who said he had planned to be in Florida for the surgery regardless of the Army's decision.
Chapman was informed during a teleconference with the Army surgeon general and the office of Democratic U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes of New Hampshire.
The family learned last month that Army medical officers had denied permission for the surgery, which they said could lead to medical problems down the road for him. Chapman said the denial was over a high blood pressure reading at a hospital.
Chapman disputed that, noting he has been cleared for surgery by doctors at Reynolds Army Community Hospital at Fort Sill, Okla., and Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where the surgery is scheduled.
After the Chapmans disputed the decision, the Army surgeon general's office agreed to reconsider their opinion following a 24-hour period of blood pressure monitoring.
Chapman said he spoke with his mother on the phone briefly Thursday. "She feels much better about the whole process," he said.
Hodes said the Army is expediting Chapman's request for "compassionate reassignment" so he can care for his mother.
Chapman lived in New Hampshire before moving to Oklahoma last July.