Federal Judge, Jonesboro Native Gets Heart Transplant

MAY 18, 2004 - Posted at 7:44 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Jonesboro native and U.S. District Judge Stephen M. Reasoner is recovering from a heart transplant.

The 60-year-old judge, who serves in the Eastern District of Arkansas out of Little Rock, had been on a transplant list for a little more than a year and was called to Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock to be fitted with a new heart.

Reasoner's new heart was beating on its own after about five hours of surgery.  Reasoner received a telephone call about 3:30 a.m. yesterday notifying him that a heart was available, his secretary said.  The surgery started several hours later and ended around 2 p.m. yesterday.

The judge had suffered for several years from congestive heart failure.  In September 2002, he announced that he had been certified medically disabled for purposes of taking senior status.  That status allows federal judges to continue working at full pay but with a lighter caseload.

Reasoner was appointed by former President Reagan, and began serving as a federal judge in April 1988.

(  The Associated Press contributed to this report.)