A Georgia man who dove into a shallow creek over the weekend to save a drowning 4-year-old girl has been left paralyzed by the rescue.
Mike Patterson, 43, was enjoying the day at Euharlee Creek in Rome, Ga., Saturday when Jevaeh Jones, 4, was swept away by a strong current.
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"I was terrified, that's it. I mean it's my daughter," Carlisa Jones, the girl's mother, told WSBTV. "She's underwater. All you can see is the top of her head. She was not making any noise."
Patterson immediately jumped into the water and grabbed the child, whose mother then pulled her to safety. It wasn't until three minutes later that anyone noticed Patterson floating face down. He had jumped in head-first, broken his neck, and inhaled creek water into his lungs.
Patterson, who works as a contractor, was rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately, he switched jobs recently and does not have health insurance.
"He’s been on life support," Vickie Jones, Patterson's mother, told the Cedartown Standard
. "They did take the ventilator and everything out and he is breathing on his own, but the doctor told me that what I see now… is probably as good as it’s going to get. But I'm praying he’s wrong."
Family, friends, and neighbors have set up a fund at a local bank to raise money for Patterson's medical costs.
"He did what he hoped anyone else would have done for him," his mother said. "That's not a very common thing anymore, for anyone to care about someone they don't know."
This isn't the first time Patterson has saved a stranger. Two weeks ago, he witnessed a tractor-trailer accident right in front of him and pulled the driver from the rig after it caught fire.
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