Paramedic Kat’s ‘miracle’ after accident

Paramedic Kat Dixon
Paramedic Kat Dixon
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It was a day like any other. Paramedic Kat Dixon was attending a 999 call as she had done many times before.

But as they travelled near Xscape at Glass Houghton a car failed to see the flashing blue lights and piled straight into the side of the ambulance, trapping Kat.

Kat, then aged 31, realised that she was seriously injured herself.

She said: “I didn’t feel any pain at first. Everything seemed to go in slow motion.

“I knew my legs were trapped but I couldn’t feel them, so I knew something was really wrong.

“I radioed control and told them we’d been in an accident and that they needed to send another ambulance as my worry was for the unconscious patient we were on our way to.”

But it was Kat who needed an ambulance. The accident had caused compression of her spinal cord in her neck and back.

The swelling was not allowing the signal through to her leg. It left her in hospital for three months.

It meant that Kat had to spend 12 weeks in a frame, strapped to a bed, unable to move in the hope the swelling would reduce and the feeling return.

After 12 weeks a scan revealed Kat’s worst fears. Nothing had changed.

She was told it was very unlikely she would get feeling in her toes back.

She said: “I used to joke with my consultant that I would go back to work.

“I said ‘just watch me’ and my mum said ‘she’s stubborn you know’.”

But for the next two and half years Kat’s dream of returning to work seemed no more than that. She had to learn to use a wheelchair and start to plan her future.

For Kat who had worked all her life and been an independent woman the months that followed were incredibly hard.

Kat was referred to an orthopaedic specialist who made her a leg calliper which allowed her to walk in a fashion using crutches and hitching her paralysed leg along.

But it was during a family holiday to Tenerife that a ‘miracle’ really happened.

Kat said: “My step dad carried me to the pool and I felt something against my leg.

“I didn’t dare go to sleep for fear I would wake up and feeling would be gone. Then I started feeling my toes.”

An MRI scan revealed the swelling had reduced, but her consultant said her feeling had returned because the signal from her brain had found a way round the blockage in her spine.

“It had taken two and a half years to find it’s way round. The consultant said he had only ever seen it happen twice in his career.”

But Kat’s journey wasn’t over. She started to ease herself back into work at Yorkshire Ambulance Service HQ in Wakefield but Kat was determined to return to being a paramedic and last October she did just that.

She said: “It’s a new beginning for me.

“I am back at work doing the job I love. When I was discharged I wanted to say ‘I told you so’ but deep down I knew it was a miracle.”