Source: Memorial Examiner
By: Rusty Graham
As an emergency room doctor and medical entrepreneur who loved his work, Dr. Victor Miranda found satisfaction in helping others in moments of great need. But when he died suddenly at the age of 52 of cardiac arrest from an undetected congenital heart defect, his family was faced with the agonizing decisions that grieving survivors must face.
One decision that came easy was to share Miranda’s organs, tissue, bone and tendons with those who needed them.
“We decided when we were a young couple that (organ donation) was something we wanted to do,” said Lisa Miranda, Miranda’s wife of 27 years, a nurse and Piney Point resident.
Dr. Victor Miranda will be honored Friday with a floragraph on a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
Built by Donate Life, a national organ donation organization, the float will feature floragraphs representing 76 organ donors from across the country. Float riders include 24 recipients of organs and other “gifts of life” from donors.
The floragraph — a portrait created with floral materials — was sent to Houston earlier this month so the family could add detail. A ceremony was held at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons on Bering Drive with the Lisa, Ashley and Matthew Miranda adding touches to the portrait in front of a small group of family and friends.“It’s really a nice essence of Victor,” Lisa Miranda said.
Called “New Life Rises,” the Donate Life float features a phoenix — the mythical symbol of life coming out of death — rising into the sky and representing those who give life in death, and those whose lives are renewed.The floragraphs, including Miranda’s, will be placed along fire in the phoenix’s wake as it rises to the sky.
Miranda’s placement on the float is sponsored by Dignity Memorial, a network of funeral homes to which Geo. H. Lewis & Sons belong.“We’re honored to sponsor the Donate Life float,” said Bradford Wyatt, vice president and COO of Geo. H. Lewis. “I can’t think of a more appopriate person to honor than Dr. Miranda. He spent his life saving lives ... and he’s still saving lives.”A doctor and family friend asked Lisa Miranda about donating Victor Miranda’s organs while he clung to life on Dec. 11, 2008. Lisa Miranda said she had to ask her children — Michael, 27, Ashley, 23, and Matthew, 19.“They didn’t hesitate (to agree),” she said.Victor Miranda’s kidneys went to two fathers.
A young mother who wasn’t expected to live through Christmas that year received a full lung. Another recipient got a liver. Numerous others got tissue, bone and tendons.“Knowing that Victor lives on through others is very comforting,” said Lisa Miranda. “This is a story that we wanted to tell. We’re very proud of him.”Born in Peru, Victor Miranda moved to Houston just as he was starting high school. He knew Spanish and French then, but little English. He learned the language and excelled at Clear Lake High School.After graduating from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Miranda served a surgical residency at John Sealy Hospital but soon realized that emergency care was his passion.He worked as an emergency room doctor at Oak Branch Hospital in Richmond, then with a partner opened a concierge emergency room in the Willowbrook area.“He wanted to be an ER doctor,” said Lisa Miranda. “He was skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate.”Lisa Miranda said that a Mass in Victor Miranda’s honor was held Dec. 11 of this year — the same day that Lisa became a converted Catholic.“I’d been taking classes all along (before Victor Miranda’s death),” she said. “It was special to honor him in that way.”Lisa Miranda and her family will be in Pasadena, Calif., over New Year’s.
They’re excited that the Donate Life float is 10th in the lineup — they’re hoping that parade announcers will spend some time describing the float and its symbolism. They’re even more hopeful that Victor Miranda’s story will be told that day.Lisa Miranda said she hopes to meet those who received Victor Miranda’s organs. Meetings are arranged through an intermediary and must be agreed to by both parties. Lisa Miranda said she waited a year before sending out letters — she thinks that is an appropriate amount of time to pass.
She said she plans to donate everything when she dies, and she encourages everyone to consider doing the same.“Talk with your family (about your decision),” she said. “If the family knows beforehand, the decision is already made and they don’t have to think about it.”Lisa Miranda said that no gift is greater than organ donation.“It really is the gift of life,” she said. “That’s what Victor wanted.”