Sad news out of Georgia today. A Good Samaritan dad who dove into a creek to save a drowning 4-year-old and was paralyzed for his efforts has died. Michael Patterson was at the creek with his 9-year-old son, Cole, when he heard the young girl screaming. Without hesitation, he dove into the shallow creek and broke his neck in three places. He was subsequently paralyzed from the chest down and doctors said he probably would never walk again. But complications set in and now Michael has given the ultimate sacrifice for a young girl he didn't know.
Family says that in addition to becoming paralyzed, Michael suffered respiratory acidosis, pneumonia, a bacterial infection, and a blood clot. He spent 20 days in the hospital before passing away today. His family wrote on Facebook:
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. 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.
I can only imagine that Mike made an instinctual decision to dive in after the girl, who was saved, and who might not be here without this heroic man's sacrifice.
What would any of us do in this situation? Would most of us just react automatically and not calculate whether the creek was deep enough to sustain a dive? Would some of us just stand around and not do anything?
Mike did what he did, and it ended tragically. Sometimes it seems that there is no fairness in this world. Mike's son is without a dad. Mike's family is without him. And the world is less one very good man. But the little girl lives on, and with her, Michael.
Let's all remember this unbelievably wonderful man Mike Patterson. He is now an angel overlooking his loved ones.
What do you think you would have done?
Image via FriendsofMikePatterson/Facebook