by: Diana Davis Updated:
ROME, Ga. - The good Samaritan who was paralyzed trying to save the life of a little girl continues to battle an infection, which means it may be at least a couple of weeks before he can be transferred to a rehabilitation center.
Vickie Jones Roberson, Patterson's mother, told Davis the good wishes in cards and letters have touched
"We've gotten cards from the U.K. We've gotten cards from ... every state in the United States," Jones Roberson said.
Patterson broke his neck trying to save the life of a 4-year-old girl who was drowning in a creek.
Roberson said she reads the letters to him at his bedside in the hospital several times a day. She told Davis they have been an inspiration
"I think sometimes he's asleep. He's got his eyes closed and I didn't know he was listening and when I quit reading, thinking he's sleeping, I set them down and he opens them eyes and looks at me like, 'read more,'" Jones Roberson told Davis.
Patterson continues to battle a bacterial infection. For the past week, he's been dependent on a ventilator to breathe, which makes him unable to speak.
Just over a week ago, he was sitting up in bed sipping a milkshake, but his mother said all his nutrition now is through an IV.
"He can't even have an ice chip now; there's absolutely nothing. They are swabbing his mouth to try and give him a little bit of moisture. Not even a drip of water. If it went down the wrong
His mother has slept in the hospital every night since the accident. So has as Patterson's sister. They're afraid to leave should he have a crisis.
"There has been a couple of times in the middle of the night they've had to come get us for certain things that have gone wrong," Jones Roberson said.
With her son's condition being like a roller coaster ride, some days good, others not, the family told Davis the letters of support are helping them get through the nightmare and stay strong.
One from a woman in Wyoming, who until now was a total stranger, particularly touched the family. It reads in part: "We lost our beloved daughter a few years back and have asked her to watch over you as an angel."
If you would like to send a note to Patterson and his
Redmond Regional Medical Center
501 Redmond Rd. NW, Rome, Ga. 30165