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Wounded Gillsville soldier out of ICU

POSTED: May 21, 2008 5:01 a.m.

After nearly two weeks in various intensive care units, a soldier from Hall County who was critically wounded in Iraq has been moved to a regular hospital room, his mother said Friday.

"We’re kind of stable," said Carolyn Bagwell, mother of the injured soldier, Pvt. Nathon Bagwell.

Nathon Bagwell, a Gillsville resident, is showing signs of paralysis in the right side of his body from a gunshot wound in the left side of his body he received when his platoon came under a attack in Sadr City on April 27. The bullet, which most likely came from an AK-47 rifle, said Army Maj. Michael Humphreys, ripped through Nathon Bagwell’s intestines and left kidney before shattering one of his vertebrae.

Since he was injured, Nathon Bagwell has undergone numerous surgeries in Iraq, Germany and currently at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to repair the damage that was done in the attack, which only lasted minutes.

Aside from his physical ailments, the Army soldier suffers frequent anxiety attacks that are a result of post traumatic stress disorder, his mother said Wednesday.

"He remembers everything; he can tell you bit by bit what happened, where he went to, and all that good stuff," said Carolyn Bagwell.

Early this week, doctors will run tests to find out what kind of paralysis Nathon Bagwell will have to overcome, but his mother said she believes the paralysis is nothing her son cannot overcome with therapy.

"It’s issues that can be worked through," Carolyn Bagwell said. "He’s got more feeling and a little movement, in his left side, Now the right side, he don’t have a lot of feeling or a lot of movement in it."

Nathon Bagwell is able to wiggle the big toe on his left foot and that foot responds to touch, but his right foot "just kind of tingles and he can’t really feel it," Carolyn Bagwell said.

Doctors will not run the tests to determine the extent of Nathon Bagwell’s paralysis until the swelling around his backbone subsides from a recent surgery to repair his shattered vertebra, his mother said.

While he waits for the tests, Nathon Bagwell endures mild but "painful" therapy treatments that involve nurses helping the soldier move his limbs and keeping his muscles stretched. His mother hopes that soon his intestines will begin functioning properly again, so her son can resume eating regular food.

The Bagwell family, who not long ago heard stories of their son conducting raids of enemy homes, now takes joy in the small feats Nathon Bagwell is able to overcome. Thursday, the soldier brushed his own teeth and sat up in bed. Friday, Nathon Bagwell was able to shave his own face with an electric razor.

And his mother is happy to say that Nathon Bagwell is stable, not critical, and in a more comfortable environment than the loud and always lit intensive care unit.

"We’re glad to get moved out of ICU," she said.



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