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Man Gets Pager After Missing Chance for Heart Transplant

September 17, 1993

TOPEKA, Kan. — A man who missed a chance for a heart transplant when his phone service was cut off because of unpaid bills now has a pager--thanks to an outpouring of support from people who heard about his plight.

But Richard Miller was still waiting Thursday for the one thing he needs the most--a new heart.

A heart had become available Tuesday morning at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, but Miller was unreachable because his phone had been disconnected for non-payment of bills.

The heart went to the next person on the Medical Center's list.

Miller, 60, suffered three heart attacks in 1989, then was told he could no longer work. He began receiving Social Security payments of $434 a month, but the bills piled up and Miller said he could not meet his payments.

For the last three years, he has been on a waiting list for a new heart.

After people across the country heard about his plight this week, good fortune seemed to return. Officials halted eviction proceedings against him that were begun when the owner of his rental home failed to make loan payments. Telephone service has been restored, and he has been given a pager.

One donor paid his $608 telephone bill and others have contributed money to a fund set up for his other expenses.

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