June 28, 2013 at 11:24 AM ET
Mike Patterson, a Georgia father who was paralyzed when he dove into a creek to save a young girl earlier this month, died early Friday morning as a result of complications from his injuries.
Patterson, 43, severed his spinal cord when he dove into the Euharlee Creek in Rockmart, Ga., on June 8 to save a 4-year-old girl who was drowning. The Good Samaritan was with his 9-year-old son when he heard the girl’s screams, and when he dove in to save her, he hit the bottom and severed his spinal cord. He still was able to get the girl to safety despite suffering paralysis in both of his legs and one of his arms.
In addition to his spinal-cord injury, he also battled respiratory acidosis, pneumonia, a bacterial infection and a blood clot while in intensive care for 20 days at a hospital in Rome, Ga., according to a Facebook page called “Friends of Mike Patterson.” His family was by his side at the time of his death.
“Mike’s spirit and selfless actions inspired tens of thousands who sent cards, letters and emails and engaged in posts at the Friends of Mike Patterson Facebook page,” a post signed by The Friends of Mike Patterson Trust reads. “His life and the lives of others are forever changed by his courageous, split-second decision to save another’s life. Mike’s tragic story made news headlines around the globe. His heroic act stirred an outpouring of emotion and a desire to help Mike in his time of need. His caring nature will forever be honored.”
Patterson had just started a new job and did not have medical insurance. The Friends of Mike Patterson Trust is accepting donations to help pay for medical costs and assist his family.