After three days of repeated power outages at his aunt’s Dallas home during February’s arctic storm, Steven Brown noticed something was very wrong with his legs.
“My feet had swelled up on me,” he recalled. “I couldn’t walk normal. My ankles locked up to the point where I couldn’t bend my knees or stand up no more.”
A relative took the 23-year-old to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where Brown learned he had suffered frostbite to his legs and had a blood infection. After three days of hospitalization, he was presented with two choices – either a long, complicated recovery filled with many uncertainties or amputation.
“Either I had an option that I could keep [my legs] and deal with whatever comes with it or the second option was I had to get both of my limbs amputated so I chose that one,” Brown said. “Other people would probably be like, dang, I lost my legs. They’d probably have a hard time coping and dealing with it. … But I can deal with it. It’s just a different way of living.”
Unable to return to his aunt’s home because of the living conditions and with no place else to go, Brown was referred and admitted into Health to Home, a collaborative medical respite program involving Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas; Austin Street Center, a Dallas homeless shelter; and CitySquare, a nonprofit housing and social support provider.
Funded entirely through donations to the Texas Health Resources Foundation, the 24-month pilot program provides qualifying homeless or imminently homeless men like Brown short-term residential care to recover in a safe environment. Clients of the program have access to medical care and other social support services, including substance abuse treatment resources and help finding them permanent housing.
“We want to expand to outlying communities, other hospital settings, because there is such a need,” said Jennifer Hay, M.S.N., R.N., director of the respite program and Texas Health Dallas Emergency Department.
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SOURCE: CBS DFW