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MedJet returns Terrys to Alabama; Eleanor Terry critical, on life support

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Eleanor Terry, wife of The Alabama Baptist editor Bob Terry, was on life support and in critical condition at University Hospital (UAB) in Birmingham, Ala., the morning of July 20, after arriving via MedJet International at 9:30 a.m. July 19 from South Africa.
The Terrys were seriously injured in a car accident July 11 in Durban, South Africa, when their taxi was struck by an oncoming car speeding through a red light. Both Bob and Eleanor were thrown from the car. The Terrys were in South Africa attending the Baptist World Alliance meeting July 5-11.
Terry, 55, is listed in satisfactory condition after suffering severe facial injuries, including fractures to his nose and face, a shift in his jaw and injuries to his mouth and teeth.
Both had been alert following the accident. The children, Brent Terry of Atlanta and Jean Terry Cullen of Vincent, Ala., flew to South Africa July 14 after their mother’s situation worsened. Brent reported that his mother had become “agitated and confused.” Her heart stopped July 13 and she has been on life support since. She slipped into a coma July 15.
Doctors at St. Augustine Hospital in Durban had reported a blood clot caused her heart to stop, but UAB surgeons have not yet reported what they believe caused her condition.
Bill Holdefer, medical services director for MedJet International, was in constant contact with physicians aboard the medical plane during the 30-hour trip home that began July 17. Early reports from the plane had miscommunicated to the United States that Eleanor Terry had died aboard the jet.
But Holdefer confirmed July 18 doctors had been able to resuscitate her. “She crashed several times, but she is hanging on,” Holdefer said July 18.
Flying back from Durban, Terry wrote a statement: “Eleanor’s hold on life is tentative at best. She seems to be letting go. We are battered and broken but we are not forgotten. God promised that where we are weak, He will make us strong.
“Please continue to pray for us. Your concern will be light for us in this present darkness,” Terry wrote.
Terry has been editor of the second-largest state Baptist newspaper since 1995. He previously was editor of Word & Way of the Missouri Baptist Convention for 20 years.

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  • Laurie A. Lattimore