Uninsured West Nile patient goes home after charity care

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on November 9, 2012 at 6:35 PM

DENTON -- When we met Kim Dixon back in September, she had been in the hospital with West Nile virus for three months. Since she didn't have insurance, Dixon was about to be sent home, instead of to a rehab center.

But after our story aired, Kim received dozens of offers for help, and now, as a result, she’s she's making incredible progress.

Dixon knows she still has a long way to go. But her improvement since September has been remarkable. She no longer requires a feeding tube. She can sit up. And movement has returned to her arms and legs.

"Now, we're working on standing activities," said Laura Austin, her physical therapist. "We've done walking with her. She's able to wheel herself with the chair. And, as you can see, she's able to sit up on her own."

Dixon contracted West Nile after a mosquito bite in July. Six weeks ago, she was ready for rehab after being treated at Huguley Medical Center in Fort Worth. But without insurance, no one would take her.

That is, until employees at Select Rehabilitation Hospital of Denton saw our story and offered to help.

"God bless them for doing that for me," Dixon said. "It is really heartfelt and very warming."

Her therapists worked diligently to increase her movement. They've also been training her parents to provide home care for her.

Kim has been working on getting out of bed, into a wheelchair and into a car. However, today, it wasn't practice. Her hard work is paying off. She's on her way home.

"The fact that she can do it on her own is what pushes her," said boyfriend Bill Swoape. "She's the strongest person I ever met in my life."

In just six weeks, Kim Dixon's dire situation has turned into hope, and affirmation of the good in people.

"I have high hopes for the future," Dixon said. "I don't expect it to all come at once, but I do have high hopes. It makes me believe I'll be able to walk again and use my arms like I'm supposed to."

Dixon slowly got into her boyfriend's car. They drove off to a new life, filled with difficult challenges, but optimism she will walk again.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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