Walking Again: A Miracle and a Challenge


Diagnosed paraplegic, Diane Pruitt returns to Renown Rehabilitation Hospital for intense physical rehabilitation after she miraculously wiggles her toes.

Mysterious Staph Infection Causes Paralysis

In October 2016, Diane Pruitt ended up in the emergency room at Renown Regional Medical Center for severe back pain. Doctors discovered a staph infection that quickly paralyzed her legs. After three surgeries on her spinal cord to remove the infection, Diane was still unable to walk. 

She was admitted to the Renown Rehabilitation Hospital where she learned to live, move and maneuver with a wheelchair. Her prognosis was grim. The doctors believed she would never walk again.

Related: Rehab Story – Recovery After Devastating Dirt Bike Injury

But Diane and her husband never gave up and continued therapy at home. Then, miraculously, about 2 1/2 years later — she began to move her toes.

Renown Rehabilitation Hospital Steps In 

After seeing the movement in her feet, Renown Rehab staff worked with Diane’s insurance provider to readmit her to the hospital for intensive physical therapy.

“Diane is very unique. It is certainly the first time for me to see someone go from having that diagnosis of a complete spinal cord injury to now an incomplete and regaining function,” says Physical Therapist Marcy West.

Standing, Walking, Living 

With PT West by her side, Diane worked daily in the therapy pool and gym to facilitate movement in her legs. And it paid off. Today, Diane has regained enough functionality and strength to stand and walk with braces. 

“I’ve progressed so much that it’s made a tremendous difference in my life,” says Diane.
“Everything was so much effort, but I didn’t give up. They’ve made dreams come true for me. They’ve changed my life and I’m so thankful.”

Diane continues outpatient therapy and is hopeful for what the future will bring. She’s also becoming more independent. In fact, now she takes the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) Access to her appointments — and some day she may actually walk there. 

How can Renown help you?

If you’re struggling with a physical challenge due to an illness or injury — be it stroke or trauma, a brain, spinal cord or orthopedic injury or a neurological disorder — Renown Rehabilitation Hospital is here to help.  

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