22. He performed surgery on multiple dogs while helping develop a heart-lung machine.
23. He helped train at least 75 residents in open-heart surgery from around the world.
24. He has written more than 70 peer-reviewed papers for medical publications.
25. He operated on nearly 7,000 people during his career as a surgeon.
26. He enlisted in the army during the Korean War and served in the Army Medical Corps.
27. He was a captain while in the Army.
28. He performed the first open-heart surgery in Utah on November 9, 1955, at age 31.
29. He once almost got botulism as an intern when a surgeon lost control of his scalpel and jabbed the infected tool through Dr. Nelson’s forearm.
30. He once saved the life of a mother carrying twins by closing an artery with his finger during a surgery to remove a tumor and her right lung.
31. He was a surgeon for 35 years.
Work in China
32. He was a visiting professor of surgery in China for several years.
33. He performed his final open-heart surgery while as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve on a famous Chinese opera singer.
34. He was given the title “Old Friend of China” by a delegation in Jinan—the highest compliment you can receive from the Chinese.
35. He has been awarded honorary professorships from three universities in the People’s Republic of China.
Guided by Inspiration
36. He received revelation on how to fix a valve in the heart of a stake patriarch who had come to him for help.
37. He witnessed miracles as he performed a successful, complex operation on Elder Spencer W. Kimball, who would one day become the president of the Church.
38. He was in the operating room during the heart surgeries of four fellow Church leaders: Elder M. Russell Ballard, President Howard W. Hunter, Elder Robert D. Hales, and Elder David B. Haight.
39. He saved Elder Paul H. Dunn’s life after following a prompting to leave a vacation early. Elder Nelson arrived home in time to perform heart surgery on Elder Dunn, who was able to be stabilized after having a heart attack as the surgery began.
40. He turned down a lucrative and prestigious career offer from the University of Chicago after seeking the advice of President David O. McKay, who told President Nelson that it didn’t feel right.