News and Stories from the Texas Medical Community


Heart Keeps Ticking 25-Years for Austin Transplant Recipient

By on June 4, 2013 in Central Texas, Featured with 0 Comments

Dr. David Morris (left), Schieffer’s current cardiologist, joined Latrrell and Twain Chieffer and Dr. John “Chip” Oswalt, who performed the transplant 25 years ago, at a “re-brithday” party for the heart transplant recipient. Photo: Seton Healthcare Family

by Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

At the age of 56, Twain Schieffer was told he had less than 48 hours to live.  That was twenty-five long years ago and he’s alive and well to celebrate the occasion with a “re-birthday” cake at the hospital where the transplant was performed.

In 1988 Schieffer experienced a massive heart failure and was taken to the Seton Medical Center of Austin, a member of the Seton Healthcare Family. He was put on a mechanical heart assist device and told that he had between 24 to 48 hours to live.


A framed photo of the teenager was placed beside a “Happy Rebirthday” card everyone was signing for Schieffer, who is now 81 years old and was 56 on May 25, 1988, when he had the heart transplant. Photo: Seton Healthcare Family

On May 25 he was given the gift of life when he was told a “new” heart was being transported to Austin from Missouri where a 16-year old boy was killed in an auto accident.

For the past quarter century, a photo of the young boy whose family made the selfless decision to donate his organ has been kept close to his “new” heart.

“I thank the Lord for having these 25 years,” Schieffer said in a recent interview. “It’s meant a whole lot of living.”

The long living transplant recipient, his family and original and present-day Seton transplant team members celebrated the occasion at the hospital where his transplant was performed.

Schieffer, who has been married for 63 years to his wife Latrrell, has two children, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

According to the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance, the Austin resident is the longest living heart transplant recipient in Central Texas.

Since 1986, Seton Heart Specialty Care and Transplant Center has performed 343 heart transplant surgeries. Schieffer was the 14th patient to receive a heart from the then two-year old program.

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