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Woman paralyzed after Matthew warns of floodwater dangers

Bonne Jones says it's miracle she's alive

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The dangers of recovering from a hurricane have been on display after Irma.

Some people hurt by the latest storm were still recovering from Hurricane Matthew last year.

News4Jax on Friday spoke with a woman who was hurt by dirty water from Matthew and lost her ability to walk. 

Bonne Jones, who's now recovering and learning to walk again, said it's a miracle she's alive and believes her purpose is to let people know how dangerous hurricane waters can be.

Jones, a St. Augustine realtor, stubbed her toe and ended up paralyzed.

"I walked into a stump that had been saturated with dirty water from the hurricane. And it bled immediately. It immediately got into my bloodstream," she said. "It never hurt it all. I've never turned red. I never had anything that would indicate an infection."

A bacterial infection was at work from Oct. 14 -- a week after Hurricane Matthew flooded so much of St. Augustine -- until Jones finally got treatment in November. At that point, sepsis was causing inflammation and Jones had spinal meningitis.

News4Jax asked if her life was in danger. 

"Yes," Jones said, shaking her head. "You don't know that while you're laying there ... Your relatives are the ones that suffer."

Jones' husband, Greg, was by her side as she was moved to Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Ronald Reimer operated to relieve the spinal compression and paralysis, and had to deliver a gloomy prognosis -- that it may be take years, if ever, for her to walk again.

Instead, she survived, and has beaten the odds to get back on her feet -- even if she uses a cane for balance.

"It’s something that happened. It was very painful -- still painful. But you have to be aware of what can happen," Jones said. "It looks great to be able to kayak and skim board and all of that down your street. But that stuff can kill you.”

Jones said it was five weeks between injuring her toe and experiencing the pain and paralysis.

She said the best thing people can do if they were in floodwater caused by the hurricane is get a simple blood test and see a doctor sooner than later.


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