Longtime Pastor of David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Austin, TX Recovering After Heart Transplant

4798The Rev. Joseph C. Parker Jr., the senior pastor of David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in East Austin since 1992, is recovering after receiving a heart transplant, his wife said Monday.
LaVerne Morris-Parker said her husband received the heart Jan. 23 in a procedure lasting more than six hours at Seton Medical Center Austin. Parker, 60, who suffered a cardiac arrest in 2003, had ablation surgeries to treat abnormal heart rhythms Dec. 19 and Dec. 27, before doctors determined he needed a new heart, and he was placed on the National Heart Transplant Register, his wife said.

Doctors later told Morris-Parker that they had expected the wait for a heart for a man of Parker's size -- 6 feet 3 inches and weighing more than 250 pounds, she said -- to be at least six months.

"It was nothing but a miracle" that a heart became available, Morris-Parker said.

A total of 1,968 heart transplants were performed nationally last year, 185 of them in Texas, according to data compiled by the United Network for Organ Sharing. A total of 412 people were on the waiting list for a heart in Texas as of Jan. 18.

Morris-Parker said her husband probably will stay in the hospital for another three weeks, and doctors said recovery at home could last three months.

"He said to me yesterday, 'LaVerne, this one took a lot out of me.' He is wiped out," Morris-Parker said.

Word of Parker's condition had been posted on his personalized website on a social network for people with serious medical conditions, where a number of well-wishers, including church members and friends, offered their prayers and support.

Source: Austin American Statesman | Juan Castillo
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