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Army reverses decision, grants leave for transplant

CONCORD, N.H. -- A soldier from New Hampshire was granted leave from the Army yesterday to pack up and head to Florida to donate his kidney to his mother.

Army Specialist Frank Chapman, 27, is a match for his mother, Patricia , who suffers from kidney disease and is on dialysis three days a week. They are scheduled for transplant surgery June 13 in Dunnellon, Fla., where Patricia Chapman, 54, 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 had planned to be in Florida for the surgery regardless of the Army's decision. He was informed during a teleconference with the Army surgeon general.

The family learned last month that Army medical officers had denied permission for the transplant surgery, which they said could eventually lead to medical problems for the soldier.

Chapman said the denial was based on a high blood pressure reading. He disputed the denial, noting he has been cleared for surgery by doctors at a hospital at Fort Sill and Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where the surgery is scheduled.

The Army surgeon general's office agreed to reconsider their opinion following a 24-hour period of blood pressure monitoring. A monitor was shipped to Chapman, who is based in Fort Sill, Okla.

"It took my blood pressure every 15 minutes," Chapman said.

The readings reassured the Army.

"This is the outcome we all hoped for," added US Senator John E. Sununu, a Republican from New Hampshire who wrote a letter on Chapman's behalf to the Army's congressional liaison.

Chapman and his wife, Tiffany, lived in Hanover before moving to Oklahoma in July.