With 389 heart transplants having been performed in the last 30 years at Ascension Seton Medical Center, transplant recipients, their families and the Ascension Seton healthcare team recently celebrated the anniversary of the first of what would be many life-saving transplants in Central Texas. Ascension Seton currently performs 20 heart transplants each year.
Walter Stevens’ Inspiring Story
Having been given a second chance at life and the ability to watch his daughter grow up, Vietnam War veteran Walter Stevens knows firsthand the significance of this anniversary. Twenty-five years ago, Walter was given a year to live without a transplant, due to a failing bypass. Even with a transplant, the numbers were staggering. Walter was given a 90 percent chance of living two years and a 50 percent chance of living five years, but physicians couldn’t provide a percentage for 10 years. The technology simply wasn’t there.
A New Perspective on Life
Thanks to pharmaceutical advancements, which have caused significant increases in positive post-transplant outcomes, Walter now has a new lease on life. As Dr. Ernest Haeusslein, cardiologist at the Ascension Seton Special Care and Transplant Center, explains, with the introduction of the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporin, transplant programs began to save the lives of a growing number of people. Because of this, Ascension Seton physicians have been able to witness transplant recipients like Walter go on to live full, healthy lives.
And for Walter, his transplant donor, a girl the same age as his 15-year-old daughter, has made him especially grateful. “I kind of look at my daughter’s stages of life and I see what my donor might have been doing had she survived,” Walters says.
As witnessed by Walter and his family, an organ donation can be such an invaluable blessing, and the healthcare family at Ascension Seton is happy to be celebrating 30 years of life-changing transplants.