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Vic Schwartz "A Whole New World"

Vic Schwartz was 36 when a check-up revealed he had an aneurysm, a balloon-like bulge in the aorta that put him at risk for sudden death. He received treatment, took his medicine and resumed jogging. Three years later he was having more trouble. It was just about that time that his wife heard a lecture by Dr. Denton Cooley, who referred her husband to cardiologists Drs. Mark Schnee and Edward Massin.

Dr. Denton Cooley visits with Vic Schwartz. Dr. Denton Cooley visits with Vic Schwartz at the heart transplant program 25th anniversary celebration.

"My heart kept failing but I kept working until my ejection fraction was about 16 percent near Thanksgiving. Then I was too sick to continue. It’s depressing waiting for a donor heart. When you’re sick a day, it feels like a year," said Mr. Schwartz. He received his heart transplant on January 13, 1985.

"It was like a whole new world. Your heart keeps you up at night because you’re not used to hearing it beat," said Mr. Schwartz.

Mr. Schwartz, an educator, returned to work in sales after his transplant. "They couldn’t discriminate against you but people were scared to death if you had a heart transplant back then. It was such a new thing, they didn’t know what to expect," he said. Mr. Schwartz eventually returned to education and later retired. He’s actively involved in taking care of his real estate properties, golfing, visiting family, working on restoring cars and he enjoys a good movie now and then.

"I’ve enjoyed my family and children. We’ve had three grandchildren since the transplant. It’s a blessing. Money doesn’t add that much. The only thing you can’t buy is time," said Mr. Schwartz. "I’m enjoying life more and enjoying the freedom. I’m very grateful."

Return to Heart Transplant Program Celebrates 25 Years

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