58-year-old Houston doctor finds himself on waiting list for heart transplant

- When it came to his health, Dr. John Miller did all the right things.

“I was doing mini-triathlons, I had a personal trainer twice a week, didn’t smoke, hadn’t drank in a long time,” Miller said. “So I was taking care of myself.”  

But in 2013, Miller had a major severe heart attack while at work. Luckily, his chiropractic clinic was only half a block from a hospital.

“So I got over there and within 28 minutes they had put a stint in my heart and told me I had about 10 more minutes left,” said Miller.

At first, it appeared the stint would do the job.

But doctors at St. Luke's discovered Miller had seven different heart diseases and needed a heart transplant.

“I lost my job at that moment. I couldn’t go back to chiropractic,” Miller said.

In the fall of 2015, the doctor who was once the picture of health could barely walk to his driveway.

He had open heart surgery. A steel titanium pump called an L-VAD was inserted in his chest. He has to wear a controller and two batteries on his hip.

“Just because he had a VAD that does not mean it’s going to sustain him,” said John’s wife Sandy.

John has spent a little more than four years on a waiting list for a heart transplant.

“Across the country there are approximately 116,000 men, women and children that are in need of a life-saving organ,” said Laura Davis with LifeGift.

10 million Texans have signed up to be donors.

But organs can only be used when someone passes away in a hospital on artificial support.

“Not all those 10 million people are going to be able to donate, so the greater pool that we have to help people like John the more lives we will be able to save,” Davis said.

“Even if I don’t receive an organ I’ve lived a pretty good life,” Miller said.

If you’d like to become an organ donor you can sign up at any Department of Public Safety office or do it online donatelifetexas.org.     

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