News Articles

Draper illness: strep bacterial meningitis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–James T. Draper Jr.’s illness has been diagnosed as strep bacterial meningitis that entered his bloodstream during a myelogram June 3 at an outpatient clinic in Fort Worth, Texas.

Draper was moved from intensive care Tuesday morning, June 9, at Baylor Regional Medical Center in Grapevine, Texas, where he was admitted the day after the outpatient procedure.

Draper’s wife, Carol Ann, said he was “very, very ill when we brought him in, with no response on his part at all.”

“It’s been a miraculous turnaround,” she told Baptist Press June 9.

Draper was president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1991-2006 and president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1982-84. Prior to his service at LifeWay, Draper was the longtime pastor of the Fort Worth-area First Baptist Church in Euless.

“I’m doing better,” Draper said in a telephone message received at Baptist Press June 9 after what he described as “the first really good day I’ve had. I came in the hospital Thursday and the first thing I really remember was Sunday.”

The Draper family received a preliminary diagnosis of an allergic chemical reaction after the myelogram.

Doctors have said the strep infection is the most treatable form of bacterial meningitis, Carol Ann Draper said. During the crisis, she added, Draper’s vital signs remained stable.

As to how the infection occurred, she said, “They’re checking everything.”

Draper was stronger in walking Tuesday morning than the previous day, she said. “He knows everything he’s ever known,” except for the days after he was stricken, she said of his cognitive abilities.

She said she hopes he will be able to leave the hospital in a couple of days.
Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press.