Friday, August 10, 2012

Missionary hit by bus amazes doctors and therapist with his recovery

 Elder Britten Schenk was severely injured in March when he was hit by a bus while serving a mission in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Less than five months after his accident, he is talking and walking

by Carole Mikita, Deseret News 



LOGAN — A few months ago Elder Britten Schenk, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was hit by a bus while serving in Brazil and suffered severe injuries. The doctors there never expected him to recover.
But less than five months later, doctors are calling his case a miracle.
On March 16, Elder Schenk was hit by a bus as he started across a street in Sao Paulo. He suffered traumatic brain damage, and his parents expected the worst when they arrived a few days later.
"They had told us that there had been no blood or oxygen supply to his brain, so we were going to the hospital to tell him goodbye," Britten's mother, Karla Schenk, said with tears in her eyes.
The neurosurgeon handling Schenk's case told them things had changed. He told them he thought their son would survive, but that it was not necessarily a good thing. Doctors in Brazil didn’t give him much of a chance of any type of recovery. 
The couple found comfort in their faith. "We just had the feeling that he was going to be OK. Even when they gave us the bad news, it was OK," said Steve Schenk, Britten's father.Britten Schenk was in a medically induced coma to help reduce the swelling in his brain. The first few weeks in the hospital he was fighting infections and pneumonia. After four weeks in the hospital in Brazil, he was transferred to University Hospital in Salt Lake City. He spent seven weeks at the U., where he had to relearn everything.
Britten now works with speech pathologist Kathy Gantz at Intermountain Regional Hospital in Logan and has daily physical therapy sessions with Nick Smith at Sports Academy."I can walk pretty much normal now. I can talk really good," Britten said.
His parents, who live in Hyde Park, have shared emails with his Brazilian neurosurgeon. "He told us they continue to talk about Britten every day, and his recovery, and he said, ‘We truly witnessed a miracle,'" Karla Schenk said.When Britten was injured, the Schenks started a blog.
Soon, hundreds and hundreds offered support. The blog was a way to communicate with family. The Schenks found great comfort from perfect strangers.“There were many days that we sat in the hospital discouraged, and when we could look at the blog and read the testimonies, it just gave us such strength, that we can get through this,” she said.
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