Special Assignment

Deadly diagnosis saves a local man's life

CREATED Mar 4, 2014 - UPDATED: Mar 4, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - Just call him the bionic man!  42-year-old Quincy Scaggs is lucky to be alive after finding out a couple years ago he was suffering from heart failure, and he didn't even know it.

"It wasn't until a friend of mine noticed, my breathing was odd," Quincy recalls.

At first Quincy took his sorrows out on alcohol, cigarettes, and abused his medication. 

"Throw in a towel mode, you know," Quincy admits.  He adds, "I just didn't want to deal with it, and didn't want to hear it." 

That's when doctors gave him an ultimatum.  "I was told I would die."

Dr. Robert Love is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Froedtert and the Medical College.  He knew the only thing that could save Quincy was a ventricular assist device, which would keep his heart working until he could get on a transplant list.

"We will continue to see the increased incidence and prevalence of heart disease in our society, but we do have the tools now to keep people alive longer, and enjoy life," Dr. Love explains.
Quincy had to give up drinking and smoking to get approved for a device, and now he is one of the first patients in the U.S. to be approved for the latest model of 'HeartWare'.
"I'm proud of him for doing this, and he promised he'd be successful if we gave him a chance," Dr. Love recalls.

Quincy also takes about 35 pills a day, and keeps track of his countless hospital appointments several binders.  He admits it can be hard to take it all in at times.

"It brought me to tears how sick I was, cuz I didn't realize it," Quincy admits.

He says is on the right track now, and happy he was able to take control of his health.  "While I would have rather something else happen to make me change how I was living.  This happened for a reason." 

Quincy should be able to get on the heart transplant list within a few months.  He is also working on his MBA, so his dream is to have a new degree and a new heart within the next couple years.