Jack Stiehl, 71, Sun City West, Ariz., was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2004. He had difficulty breathing and was easily winded. In 2007, with ever worsening symptoms, Stiehl recalls his local physician saying he was out of options; he wasn’t a candidate for a heart transplant.
Then, a friend suggested Mayo Clinic. “I was severely debilitated when I went to Mayo, but I was hopeful they could help me,” says Stiehl. “I didn’t want to die.”
A week after his first appointment, Stiehl had open heart surgery to implant a ventricular assist device (VAD) to support his ailing heart. Now, Stiehl celebrates two birthdays — his actual birthday on Nov. 21 and the day he received his VAD, Jan. 10, 2008.