Life-saving Double Lung Transplant Story | News | Loyola Medicine
Thursday, March 24, 2016

After Life-saving Double Lung Transplant, Pastor to Return to Pulpit on Easter Sunday

MAYWOOD, IL – In what is certain to be an emotional church service, prominent West Side minister Rev. Joseph Kyles will return to his pulpit Easter Sunday for the first time since undergoing a life-saving double-lung transplant at Loyola University Medical Center.

For two years, a debilitating lung disease that caused severe shortness of breath robbed Rev. Kyles of the ability to give his high-energy sermons at Promise Church of Chicago, which he founded with his wife, Chrystal. Rev. Kyles also has chaired the 37th Ward Pastors Alliance.

“I’m greatly looking forward to preaching again,” Rev. Kyles said. “I had not been my normal, animated self since March of 2014. I need energy to speak. It’s our tradition and history. I think it’s going to be very emotional,” Rev. Kyles said. “People are going to be glad to see their pastor back in the pulpit. And I am very glad that I’m able to go back to doing God’s work.”

Rev. Kyles, 54, said he had enjoyed excellent health until he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive lung disease that causes lung tissue to become thick, stiff and scarred. As the disease progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to breathe. Even though he was breathing supplemental oxygen, Rev. Kyles was unable to exert himself without gasping for breath. Some days, he could barely get out of bed in the morning.

“Rev. Kyles has a tremendous spirit,” said Loyola pulmonologist James Gagermeier, MD. “He has a perspective that enabled him to persevere despite more than a few setbacks.”

Loyola thoracic surgeon Wickii Vigneswaran, MD, performed Rev. Kyles’ double lung transplant on Feb. 6. Rather than cutting through the breastbone, Dr. Vigneswaran made two smaller incisions on the side of Rev. Kyles’ chest. This less-invasive procedure enabled a faster recovery, said Dr. Vigneswaran, who has performed more than 500 lung transplants.

Today, with every breath he takes, Rev. Kyles experiences the dramatic difference the transplant has made. “I can sense that I have a new set of lungs that are not damaged,” he said. “I feel great.”

Rev. Kyles noted that the theme of his church is God’s unbroken favor. “I preach that you will see a continual stream of God’s favor in your life,” he said. “That certainly has happened to me this year.”

Rev. Kyles said he is extremely grateful to his donor and to the doctors, nurses and everyone else who made his transplant possible.  “I feel like I owe a big debt,” he said. “I will use my life to express my thanks.”

Loyola has performed more than 800 lung transplants, by far the most of any center in Illinois. Last year, Loyola performed more lung transplants than the three other Illinois lung transplant programs combined. In May, 2014, Loyola became the only center in Illinois to perform five successful lung transplants in just over 24 hours.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.