Paralyzed Navy Officer surprises nurse by walking again - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Paralyzed Navy Officer surprises nurse by walking again

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 41-year-old Navy man who was hospitalized with a spinal cord injury last year surprised one of his nurses Wednesday by walking to see her at Sharp Memorial Hospital.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Jesus Fernando Ruiz was paralyzed in a motorcycle crash 16 months ago, and doctors at the time weren't sure he was going to be able to walk again.

During a Hospital Week presentation, Ruiz entered with a walker to surprise nurse Alison Harmon, who cared for him after the crash.

Harmon smiled, said, "Look at you!" and gave a hug to Ruiz as he approached.

"I don't know if I would have had the courage to keep going if not for your stern push," Ruiz told her. "Those few days that you took care of me, you made an impact on my life -- emotionally and in my faith."

He said he was in emotional and physical shock when he was hospitalized.

After about a week at Sharp, he was transferred to the VA Hospital's Spinal Cord Injury Center, where he began physical rehabilitation.

According to Sharp Healthcare, Ruiz was able to wiggle his toes on his right foot about 40 days after the crash. About five months later, he was able to stand on his own for a few seconds. In just under nine months, Ruiz took his first steps using a walker.

Sharp Healthcare said he can now walk about 50 steps at a time with the walker.

Ruiz, who got married in February, remains on limited duty while he recovers. He told his doctors that his long-term goal is to run a marathon with his wife.

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