JAMESTOWN, N.C. (WGHP) — A North Carolina woman has become a horrific illustration of the strain COVID-19 has put on hospitals after a life-saving surgery was put on hold due to the virus.
Keith Miller describes his wife, Jennifer, as a medical miracle.
At age 28, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but beat the odds and the disease. However, the battle took a huge toll on her body. Doctors discovered her immune system would be forever compromised.
At the end of July, Jennifer Miller’s liver began to fail at a quicker rate than doctors had anticipated. The now 42-year-old had battled COVID-19 in March and received her Moderna COVID shot in July before her diagnosis.
On Aug. 26, Jennifer Miller was hospitalized with internal bleeding linked to her failing liver.
Keith Miller explained that she was taken to the hospital by ambulance, but due to the lack of intensive care unit beds, the hospital was unable to give her the treatment she needed.
“You watch the news, and you see it going on, and you don’t feel it. And then, when you go in and a doctor walks up to you within 18 hours of hospitalization and says if we can’t transfer her from this facility to the larger facility that can do the work, she’s got 24 hours to live. And unfortunately, right now, we don’t have a bed for her.”
After waiting a day and a half, Miller was transferred to a medical facility in Charlotte that had an available bed.
Doctors determined she needed a liver transplant and scheduled it for Aug. 31.
That morning, however, a CT scan detected white spots in her lungs similar to those found in COVID-19 patients.
“The doctor told me that if it comes back that she has COVID, the chance of her surviving just went down 10 percent,” Keith Miller explained, “because her liver is what helps fight COVID off.”
Two tests came back negative, but a third confirmed that it was COVID.
Hours before she would have been wheeled in for surgery, she was instead taken to a COVID wing and her liver transplant was canceled. Keith Miller was forced to say goodbye to his wife.
“I’ve said goodbye to her three times in the past two weeks. To say it this many times at this age … it just hurts. She’s got COVID, they want three weeks to have her isolated because she has an immune issue. (Doctors) give her liver six to seven days tops.”
While Miller waits for a negative COVID test, doctors have seen signs of hope as her liver functions slightly improve.
Keith Miller said it will be a long three weeks, but his wife has a fighting spirit.
“She’s just a female warrior. She’s the strongest person I’ve ever met. I could never in a million years be able to endure the pain and suffering she has gone through. It’s just phenomenal to me. She’s an angel.”
To read more of Jennifer’s health battle, visit her GoFundMe page.