Heart transplant at UK gives Lexington man new lease on life

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Gill Heart transplant patient Joseph Madison. Courtesy UK Hospital

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Lexington native is back on his feet and back to work after receiving a heart transplant from UK Hospital.

Joseph Madison was never one to sit still and at one time had three jobs to keep himself from getting bored, including driving.

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He spent thirty years as a limousine driver, chauffeuring everyone from prom and wedding parties to celebrities including the Four Tops and John Michael Montgomery.

However, 5 years ago, illness put the brakes on his on-the-go lifestyle and left him unable to work.

What started as a nagging cough became something life-threatening.

At first, Madison was diagnosed with severe bronchitis, which became an infection he could not shake.

His health continued to decline and learned he had congestive heart failure.

Madison had no family history of heart disease and had been healthy for most of his life; however, complications with bronchitis and other respiratory infections have been linked to a risk for heart attacks because of added stress on the body.

It is believed that Madison may have suffered a “silent heart attack” after suffering from bronchitis.

Madison received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to protect him from sudden cardiac death, but even with the device, his condition continued to deteriorate.

Madison was referred to UK HealthCare in October 2016 for advanced surgical options to treat his heart failure.

Madison weighed 97 pounds and was extremely weak during his initial evaluation at UK and was hesitant to undergo a heart transplant, but doctors told him that might be his only option.

He was admitted to the hospital following his evaluation, but with medication, physical therapy, and determination to live, Madison was able to regain strength to survive heart transplant surgery.

On Thanksgiving Day of 2016, Madison got word that a heart had arrived and after an 8-hour operation, Madison had his new heart.

Madison continues to improve and gain strength month by month and recently went back to work part-time.

He says that he has a greater appreciation for the small things in life after his near death experience and is grateful for his donor’s gift.

The original article and full story can found here.

Photo courtesy: UK Hospital