Austin | Dallas | Houston
Making miracles

Medical magician: Houston doc lauded for performing most heart transplants ever, saving thousands

Enlarge
Slideshow
James T. Willerson, from left, Bud Frazier and Dr. Denton A. Cooley at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Dr. James T. Willerson, from left, Dr. O.H. "Bud" Frazier and Dr. Denton A. Cooley. Photo by © Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
Susan and George Reul, from left, and Dr. Ross Reul and Terri Reul at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Susan and Dr. George Reul, left, with Dr. Ross Reul and Terri Reul. Photo by © Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
Sheila Ultes, from left, Morton Cohn and Billy Cohn at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Sheila Ultes, from left, Morton Cohn and Dr. Billy Cohn. Photo by © Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
Robert C. Robbins, from left, Bud Frazier and Todd K. Rosengart at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Dr. Robert C. Robbins, from left, Dr. O.H. "Bud" Frazier and Dr. Todd K. Rosengart. Photo by © Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
Elyse and Bob Lanier at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Elyse and Bob Lanier. Photo by © Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
Louise and Dr. Denton A. Cooley at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Louise and Dr. Denton Cooley. Photo by © Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
Elizabeth McIngvale Cogelski, from left, Dr. James T. Willerson and Jim McIngvale at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Elizabeth McIngvale Cogelski, from left, James T. Willerson and Jim McIngvale. Photo by © Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
Jim Daniel, from left, Margaret Alkek Williams and Bud Frazier at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Jim Daniel,left, Margaret Alkek Williams and Dr. O.H. "Bud" Frazier. Photo by © Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
James T. Willerson, from left, Bud Frazier and Dr. Denton A. Cooley at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Susan and George Reul, from left, and Dr. Ross Reul and Terri Reul at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Sheila Ultes, from left, Morton Cohn and Billy Cohn at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Robert C. Robbins, from left, Bud Frazier and Todd K. Rosengart at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Elyse and Bob Lanier at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Louise and Dr. Denton A. Cooley at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Elizabeth McIngvale Cogelski, from left, Dr. James T. Willerson and Jim McIngvale at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014
Jim Daniel, from left, Margaret Alkek Williams and Bud Frazier at the Texas Heart Institute dinner April 2014

The remarkable career of Dr. O.H. "Bud" Frazier was celebrated by a powerhouse collection of cardiologists and surgeons at a Texas Heart Institute dinner in his honor where magic tricks, quotations from Shakespeare and high praise were on the menu.

Hosted by THI president and director of cardiology research Dr. James T. Willerson, the dinner at Tony's saluted Frazier for a career that has included 1,500 heart transplants, the implantation of 1,000 left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) and the implantation of innumerable heart pumps.

"Medicine is his lawful wife and literature is his mistress." 

"It is unbelievable the lives that he has saved in his remarkable career," Willerson told the gathering of close to 70 medical center headliners. "He has done more heart transplants than anyone who has ever lived."

The praise continued with Willerson noting that Frazier is the classic Renaissance man, a historian with a thirst for literature including Shakespeare, whom Willerson quoted. “'Action is eloquence,' Shakespeare wrote. And by that definition, Bud Frazier is one of the most eloquent men I have  been privileged to know."

Joining in the praise was Texas Heart Institute president emeritus Dr. Denton Cooley, who turns 94 in August, and Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale, who noted that for Frazier, "Medicine is his lawful wife and literature is his mistress." Of course, Frazier's wife Rachel, who joined the dinner, might disagree.

Among the Texas Medical Center heavy-hitters joining the celebration were Dr. Robert Robbins, TMC president and CEO; Dr. Steve Moore, Catholic Health Initiatives senior vice president and Chief Medical Officer;  Dr. George Ruel; Dr. Steve Singh and Dr. Billy Cohn, who performed the magic trick before dinner transforming six $1 bills into $100 bills and back again. Cohn and Frazier are partners in development of the "beatless" heart.

The impressive lineup of guests included Texas Heart Institute CEO Marc Mattson and Barbara Mattson, former Mayor Bob Lanier and Elyse Lanier, Louise Cooley, Margaret Alkek Williams, Cornelia and Meredith Long, Rosalie and Billy Hitchcock, Reed Morian, Kay and Fred Zeidman, David Grimes and Morton Cohn, THI's longest serving board member at 41 years.

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address

HTX Good Eats 2014