Todd Frazier has been involved in the happenings of the Texas Medical Center since he was a child. His father, O.H. “Bud” Frazier, M.D., has been a heart surgeon in the medical center for over 45 years and Todd has been everywhere with him, from the operating room to his lab.
Today, Todd is the director of the Center for Performing Art Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital. Because of his exposure to the heart transplant field and his musical background, Todd was inspired to compose an opera documenting the journey heart transplant patients, families and doctors take.
In his youth, Todd met several patients, surgeons, residents and nurses and realized that in order for something like a heart transplant to work, all of these people are forced to take a leap of faith.
“My father performed heart transplants more than anything and that process was inspiring to me because the fact that you can just sew someone’s heart in and bring new life was just incredible to me,” said Todd. “It was a leap of faith, science, anatomy and had a very palpable spiritual side to it.”
The opera, “Breath of Life” tells the stories of those involved in the process of a heart transplant and what they are going through. The story is based around a man who is in need of a heart transplant, though he does not feel that he deserves a new heart and, essentially, a second chance at life. Through receiving a heart, it is obvious that someone else has to lose theirs in a very tragic way. The guilt that many heart transplant recipients feel is not uncommon.
Brian received a heart transplant from Houston Methodist Hospital in 2008 after having heart complications his entire life. When he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2004, he was told he needed a transplant.
“When I was first told I needed a transplant, I was totally against it,” said Brian. “First of all, I have no problem going to join my son [who died in 2000], and secondly, I didn’t want a heart to be taken from someone and given to me that could be used on someone younger than me–obviously if I could trade places with my son today, I would.”
Todd shares the stories of the donor’s family trying to make sense of what has just happened to their daughter and if organ donation is the right thing to do. He also shows a Japanese resident who is struggling with her own spiritual beliefs about taking a heart from a living being and if it will impact her afterlife.
In the second act, there is a moment when the heart has been taken out of the patient and his blood has been stopped to receive the new heart. The donor and the recipient share a moment together that is suspended in time.
“The scene humanizes interface between the two people,” said Todd. “They get to know one another and only in that interaction, the donor charging the patient to live out their life, does the heart start to beat again.”
In the end, everyone has taken a leap of faith to bring new life to not only the patient, but also the donor, because her heart lives on in him.
About 10 years ago, Todd began developing “Breath of Life” in an effort to bring the medical center and the arts community together. In the process he met Gerald Dolter, the Director of Texas Tech music theater.
After years of collaboration, Todd and Dolter were able to bring “Breath of Life” to Texas Tech. The opera was performed twice this September.
“My hope with the opera was to bring this extraordinary story of advancements in science and the human condition being challenged out of the medical center and bring it to the general public,” said Todd. We hope to bring “Breath of Life” to more cities to bring the arts and science communities together and I would certainly love to have it here in Houston,” said Todd.
RT @nwilson_nancy: No one more deserving !! Amazing clinician scientist leader mentor @bcmhouston @IQuEStHouston https://t.co/rhv3aIzE4n
RT @BCMHouston_News: .@bcmhouston gives insight into what type of shower damages your skin. Read about that and other things you might not…
A new breakthrough drug treatment for pancreatic cancer targets two genes simultaneously. https://t.co/i63EFP6SKD
CHI St. Luke's Health@CHI_StLukes
What are #TraumaticBrainInjuries? Do #concussions count? Craig DiTommaso, MD, Medical Director of Rehabilitation Services at Baylor St. Luke's, gives us the scoop. https://t.co/efvosShzma
RT @UHOnlineCoogs: UH has several certificate programs that can upgrade your skills and qualifications in professional fields with credit b…
Army Veteran survives multiple medical challenges and is now inspiring other Veterans at annual VA event https://t.co/gZfNO6a3CL via #VAntagePoint
James T. Willerson Seminar Thursday at 4 PM – Jun Wang, MD, PhD, @Texas_Heart “The Sumoylation Pathway: A Global Regulator of Cardiac Function” https://t.co/v9uBsIPFhJ https://t.co/NMfxGo5Ini
RT @uhrecreation: Want a chance to win a free pair of Bose wireless earbuds, a JBL splash proof speaker, or a $25 giftcard of your choice?…
RT @BCMCancer: Thank you Harley's Angels for your generous donation to help fund cancer research! Over the last 15 years, they have given n…
RT @HoustonPubMedia: With the goal of making #college more #affordable for more families, @RiceUniversity will give full tuition #scholarsh…
In recognition of #WorldAlzheimersDay, Dr. Ines Moreno Gonzalez of @McGovernMed discusses the latest research on the disease: https://t.co/ALPClgiAM3
Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Myrtle Beach has reopened today https://t.co/o3KpG5L0x1…veterans-affairs/
$7.2 Million Grant to Create SW Louisiana Veterans’ Cemetery https://t.co/y83WMFyIWh via @usnews
TAMU Health Sciences@TAMHSC
The @TAMUmedicine presents: SHIFT 2018 – Texas Health Challenges Case Competition. Students from 7 Texas medical schools gain experience working in collaborative teams to design innovative solutions to address major health care issues affecting #Texas. https://t.co/SpMamSelHi https://t.co/oYAXgdI3sr