I have known Mike ever since he was a little kid. He is a good friend, and I must admit, his luck has not always been the best.
His bad luck started back in 1970 with a traumatic injury to his foot. This should have been something that a doctor could easily fix, however this was not the case. After several botched operations, Mike's leg was amputated.
In 1990 Mike went to his doctor complaining about chest pains. His doctor told him that he was probably just suffering from heartburn and assured him that he was too young for heart disease.
The doctor was wrong, and Mike ended up with multiple bypass surgery.
Since 1970 Mike has had a total of 24 major operations, not including angioplasties, angiograms, and stint implants. He has had three open-heart surgeries, and one laser revascularization.
Mike's heart was not good. Last year, he found himself at a place in his life where he couldn't take more than 20 steps without suffering from crippling angina. His doctor told him that he had to retire; he told mike that he shouldn't be working at all. Mike was reluctant to quit; he needed his job, but his doctor insisted.
Mike was well liked at his job, and his employer arranged for him to receive a medical retirement.
Mike was now on maximal medical therapy and confined to sitting on a lounger.
Lying around and watching TV was not his idea of the "good life." He wanted his life to be normal; he wanted to be useful once again. He asked his doctor if there was anything that could be done.
His doctor replied, "Let me contact some of my associates at Oregon Health Sciences University. Have you ever considered the possibility of a heart transplant?"
Mike had never thought about a transplant before, but he told his doctor that anything would be better than the half life that he was now experiencing.
A few days later Mike's doctor called him. "I have bad news and good news. First the bad news: I've contacted OHSU, they have a great team there, but they can't help you. Your insurance plan only covers you through Providence Hospital. That was the bad news, but the good news is that Providence Hospital has one of the best heart failure/transplant units in the country, and I am going to have you meet with them."
Mike was elated.
Mike was really excited when he and his wife entered the Providence reception center. A nurse took his history, and he was given a consultation with the Medical Director. He was ushered into the Director's office, and found himself face to face with a woman doctor. This doctor was brilliant, blonde, and beautiful. She asked Mike a number of very pointed questions. She seemed a bit dubious about Mike's prior medical history. She told him that his other open-heart operations made him a much higher risk than many others. Mike looked at his wife, and later confided to her "I don't think this doctor wants to help me. I can tell by her attitude and body language. You can't go through 24 major operations and not be able to read a doctor."
Still the Medical Director made arrangements for Mike to see the Surgical Director. A