After West Nile took her mobility, uninsured woman must hunt for care

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on September 28, 2012 at 9:14 PM

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A West Nile patient who almost lost her life is facing yet another terrifying challenge: trying to find health care without insurance.

The Fort Worth Hospital she's in is also facing a dilemma: where to send her now.

Kim Dixson got very sick after being bitten by a West Nile virus-infected mosquito. The virus attacked her body, leaving her with very limited use of her hands and legs. She's been at Huguley Memorial Medical Center since July 9.

"I try not to feel sorry for myself," Dixon said. "But I tell you what, it's hard."

The hospital is treating Dixon, even though she doesn't have medical insurance. Now, after spending more than two months in the hospital, she will need rehab and 24-hour care.

But there's a problem.

"Ideally, we're usually able to get them transferred to a rehab facility or somewhere they can have impatient care," said Melody Argueta, a social worker at Huguley. "However, due to her limited funding status, we have to plan for her to go home."

Dixon said it will place a burden on her family.

"It leaves me going to my mom's house," she said. "And she's going to have to take off work to care for me."

The hospital has tried to find a rehab center that will take Dixon. Some of them already have charity patients, and can't take on more indigents.

"She will not be able to live a normal life without therapy," said Greg Mitterer, one of Dixon's physical therapists. "She's got to be able to get out of bed to have mobility  Right now, she's depending on people helping her."

Once she's released, the hospital will provide outpatient therapy. They're looking for help from home care and medical equipment companies willing to donate their services.

For Kim Dixon, a frightening situation that left her unable to move most of her body, just got scarier.

"Is it that bad out there that there's so many people taking over rehab centers?" Dixon asked. "They don't have room for one more?"

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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