North Texas

Megachurch Donates Blood After Pastor's Near-Death Experience

Inspired by its pastor's scare, members of Gateway Church lined up to donate blood

Members of Gateway Church are lining up to donate blood after their pastor nearly died after losing more than half of his.

Pastor Robert Morris returned to the pulpit of his popular Southlake church on Saturday after undergoing two emergency surgeries in early April.

"I'm here because of prayers and I'm here because of some phenomenal first responders and medical professionals," he said.

Morris was at a country home with his wife Debbie when he suddenly passed out.

Medics couldn't feel his pulse.

They encouraged his wife to talk with him before he was rushed to Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Grapevine by helicopter.

"We both thought it was over," he said. "I actually said to the surgeon who's one of our elders, 'I thought I was dying.' He said, 'You were. You were dying.' So Debbie and I said goodbyes."

He also made a goodbye video for his children and grandchildren, he said.

In the emergency room, doctors learned Morris had lost more than half his blood.

Morris was diagnosed with a massive blood clot. He underwent two emergency surgeries, and miraculously, went home just eight days later.

He had two torn arteries in his stomach. Doctors didn't notice the second one until after his blood pressure remained dangerously low after the first surgery, he said.

The pastor said doctors told him there was no medical explanation why he had two torn arteries and that they did not believe it was related to a recent hernia surgery. Doctors also told him they couldn't explain how he survived after losing so much blood.

"What we've realized is blood saves lives,” said Executive Pastor Ben Pirtle. "It saved our pastor's life. So it's very important to us. And it's at the forefront of our minds right now. And Pastor Morris' heart was to save more lives just like his was saved."

So now, the largest church in North Texas is organizing what will almost certainly be the biggest blood drive of the summer -- a time when donations are typically low.

"It's a miracle what he went through, especially with a blood clot that big," said Lane Dial as he donated blood in the church lobby. "As long as my blood can help save somebody, then I’m happy with it."

Gateway, which has more than 30,000 weekly parishioners, plans to hold separate blood drives at each of its five other campuses over the coming weeks.

Carter BloodCare set up this website where anyone can sign up to donate.

The organization said each donation can save up to three lives.

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