On August 24, 2016, four young missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were traveling to their field of service in Sierra Leone. Their lives were suddenly changed when a truck collided with the van in which they were traveling. The driver of the truck was killed.
All four missionaries were injured. Elder Luke Dunn received a significant head injury that required immediate transport.
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Africa West Area Medical Adviser, Elder Nels Anderson, assisted in life sustaining efforts during the emergency ride to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana. Providentially for the missionary, Dr. Patrick Bankah, a John Hopkins University trained Neurosurgeon, was waiting for him.
In a nine-hour long surgery, Dr. Bankah performed the life-saving procedure on Elder Dunn’s skull and brain. After a few days, the missionary was air transported back to Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States for further care and recovery. Today he is recovering well from his injuries.
In appreciation, LDS Charities, the humanitarian organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, donated a surgical headlamp to Dr. Bankah and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for use in the surgical theater. The Integra LED light, which can run on batteries for up to 12 hours, will make intricate surgical procedures easier, especially during power failures.
During the presentation, Dr. Nels Anderson, Medical Advisor for the Church, shared how Dr. Bankah had “spent hours at the bedside of the missionary, like every good doctor does.” Dr. Bankah still makes regular calls to Salt Lake City to check on his patient.
Dr. Bankah said, “This was a young man who had left his parents to serve God. It was my privilege to be in a position to help him. I am a religious person and believe I was helped from above. We do our human best to save a life and leave the rest to God.”
In response to the thanks and praise given him, he responded, “Thank you for the kind words, but the credit really goes to God.”