‘Thank you’ Dr. Miller
A mom says goodbye to retiring pediatric surgeon
Next month, James P. Miller, M.D., a pediatric surgeon at Cook Children’s, will retire after more than 17,000 surgeries and a nearly three decade career. One of Dr. Miller’s patients wrote a goodbye message to Dr. Miller and allowed us to share it with all of you. This is why she is thankful for Dr. Miller:
Dear Dr. Miller,
On behalf of my family, I would like to congratulate you on your retirement and successful career. I know that you changed the lives of many families but I wanted you to know how much you changed ours.
From the very beginning, I trusted you and you never failed William. Maybe it is experience or maybe it is luck; I have nothing but confidence when I think about all the times you were called to consult on his case or help him through surgery. My first memory is when you put in his PD (Peritoneal Dialysis) catheter. So much was at stake for this boy in renal failure. Not only his life, but a family who wanted him to live. I asked to pray with you and the anesthesiologist before the procedure. I still remember the way you took off your surgical cap and bowed your head. Thank you for praying with me even when I could not understand myself through fearful stuttering.
The standard measuring system for a kidney transplant is your fist. I can still see you holding your fist to Will’s tummy to show me how much more he needed to grow. Every month we would work for each advance in height and weight. I remember showing up for a check-up like a student eager to have her project graded. You were as excited as I was for 10.2 kg and a torso that could hold a kidney the size of your fist. At 20 months old, you and your team transplanted a kidney in my son that “pinked up right away.” I can still see your smile and hear you answers to our rapid questions. Our son went into your OR in renal failure and came out with the first normal renal panel in his life. Thank you for guiding us through those months and thank you for all of the beautiful stitches.
William was your patient, but we are his family. Thank you for repeating your opinion over the phone with my husband when he had to be at work. Thank you for letting grandparents ask how a procedure had changed since they had children. Thank you for letting us interrupt your sleep, schedule, and rounds over and over because Lord knows Will loved to do something interesting at 3:45 on a Friday afternoon. Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for looking me in the eye when the news was not the best. Thank you for rejoicing when the news was momentous.
I have no idea how many lives are changed because of your work. But I know how much better the world for our family is because you were in it.
God bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you.
Katie, Chuck, Will and John Spiekerman
Warren and Lori Carver
Chris, Kathy and Jacob Carver
Charlie and Vicki Spiekerman