News Articles

Medical airlift from Africa set for injured Alabama editor, wife

DURBAN, South Africa (BP)–The Alabama Baptist editor Bob Terry and his wife, Eleanor, who is in critical condition, will return to Birmingham July 18 in a medical airlift following an automobile accident while attending a Baptist World Alliance meeting in South Africa.
According to Dennis and Cindy Jones, International Mission Board missionaries in Durban, South Africa, the Terrys were in a taxicab that was hit at an intersection early on July 11 near the hotel where they were staying in Durban. The Terrys were ejected from the taxi, suffering serious injuries and were taken to St. Augustine Hospital in Durban.
Eleanor Terry, 55, underwent surgery July 12 to repair multiple broken bones in her face but slipped into an agitated and confused state Monday evening. Doctors said her heart stopped Monday evening due to complications from a blood clot. They are concerned her brain has been affected by the clot, believed to be lodged in or near her brain, but said her heart has not suffered any damage. She is currently sedated and on a respirator.
Bob Terry, 55, has some broken or fractured bones in his face, presumably across his cheekbones, the missionaries reported, and will face surgery when he returns home.
The two will return to Birmingham via MedJet International and be taken to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital.
The Terrys’ two adult children, Brent Terry of Atlanta and Jean Cullen of Vincent, Ala., left for South Africa July 14.
Shortly after the accident four Southern Baptist Convention officials and their spouses staying at the same hotel were able to visit the Terrys at the hospital. Both were conscious and able to speak at that time, according to Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee, and his wife, Jodi. Also at the hospital were James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the SBC, and his wife, Carol Ann; Paige Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., and his wife, Dorothy; and Dellanna O’Brien, executive director of the Woman’s Missionary Union, SBC, and her husband, William.
Two IMB missionary families who live in Durban, the Jones and Dwight Reagans, have been assisting the Terrys and their family.
The taxi driver, although bruised, was not hospitalized and was able to talk to police investigating the accident apparently caused by another driver running a stop light.
Terry is the editor of the state Baptist paper in Alabama and former editor of the Missouri Baptist Convention’s newsjournal, Word & Way.
A fund has been established for the MedJet cost, nearly $100,000, which is being paid by The Alabama Baptist. A member, Stan Bradley, of the Mountain Brook Baptist Church, Birmingham, is piloting the medical plane to South Africa.
Contributions can be sent to the “Terry’s Medical Fund,” c/o The Alabama Baptist, 3310 Independence Drive, Birmingham, AL 35209.

Reported by Laurie A. Lattimore and Herb Hollinger.