Thursday, November 14, 2002
Perkins Looks Forward to Returning to Bench After Liver Transplant
By ALLISON LOMAS, Staf Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Wayne Perkins is expected to be released from the hospital today, only 10 days after having a liver transplant, his wife said yesterday.
The judge said that “Lord willing” he will return to the Downey courthouse in mid-February after undergoing a liver transplant last Monday. “He’ll be chomping at the bit to go back,” his wife said.
“It’s a miracle, that’s what it is,” the judge said, referring to the surgery he believed saved his life.
It was “extraordinarily successful,” he added. Perkins was astoundingly upbeat and energetic on Friday even though he admittedly had had difficulty sleeping due to back pain in the days following the surgery.
“We can’t help but feel elated,” with the success of the surgery and his swift recovery, Audrey Perkins said.
Friends and colleagues said Perkins, the site judge in the Downey Courthouse, has never let health problems interfere with his work.
Judge Brian F. Gasdia, who has known Perkins for 20 years, said the jurist never dwelled on any illness, and Judge Jesse L. Rodriguez recalled that as a commissioner at the Downey courthouse he practically had to beg the judge to take a vacation.
Judge Roy Paul, another long-time colleague, agreed that it is to be expected that a man so devoted to his work, who had never allowed any health condition to interfere with his job at the court, would return to the bench as quickly as possible.
Perkins credited the success of the transplant and his excellent recovery to the doctors and staff at UCLA, calling the team of doctors who performed the surgery, “the best liver team in the world.”
Perkins, 67, said the transplant was performed because cancerous lesions developed on his liver probably due to a genetic condition.
Hemochromatosis, an inherited condition, causes the body to absorb and store too much iron and can cause a wide variety of ailments, including cancer. The condition was diagnosed during a routine examination in 1990, approximately the time when Perkins was elected to the Downey Municipal Court.
Contrary to information provided last week by the court, Perkins said, the hemochromatosis alone is not what made the transplant necessary.
He explained that after having a pint of blood removed as often as once a week for several years in order to stabilize the amount of iron in the blood stream, lesions were found on his liver about two years ago. They originally were believed to be benign, but a biopsy performed at UCLA revealed that they were malignant.
The judge was immediately placed on the liver transplant list. He had been on the list for approximately six months when he received the call last Monday informing him that a “perfect match” had been located.
Perkins said he intends to return to work as soon as possible, even though he must be very careful to remain in a sterile environment in order to avoid infection and rejection of the new liver.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company