ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has learned the man left paralyzed after saving the life of a 4-year-old-girl has pneumonia in both lungs.
According to a news release from Friends of Mike Patterson Trust, “Mike remains heavily sedated and is on a medical ventilator to help relieve the stress on his body during this critical recovery period.”
This comes about a week after Patterson rescued Javea Jones, who was being swept away down Euharlee Creek along the Silver Comet trail. The Polk County man became paralyzed when he broke his neck on the rocks diving into a stream.
Patterson underwent surgery to perform a tracheotomy, the release said. His sister said his surgery went well and the tracheotomy will help with his breathing. It will also make it easier to suction out his lungs.
“Mike’s not out of the woods just yet. His fever remained high even after surgery, which was an area of concern for the doctors,” said Patterson’s mother, Vickie Jones Roberson.
Patterson, a father himself, didn't think twice about going to rescue Jones. His mom said that's just the way her son is.
"He has always been like that – someone else first," Roberson told Channel 2 Action News last week.
Patterson, who had just started a new contracting job, did not have insurance. He now faces thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Roberson said her family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they've received. Several viewers called to offer help after seeing Channel 2's Diana Davis' report about Patterson's valiant efforts.
"I'm blessed. Regardless of everything that has happened and (although) my heart is broken, I am still blessed. I know that because of all the people who have reached out," she said.
Anyone interested in helping out the family can email FriendsOfMikePatterson@gmail.com.
Donations can also be made to the Mike Patterson Donation Fund, care of River City Bank, 228 N. 2nd Ave. SW, Rome, Ga. 30165.
A Facebook page also has been set up with updates on Patterson's condition.