Wounded PLHS alum makes impressive strides in rehab
by Scott Hopkins
Jan 09, 2013 | 5313 views | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Will Barton, shown at left while recovering from gunshot wounds at Scripps Mercy Hospital in November, is now at an Encinitas physical-rehabilitation facility. Courtesy photos
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Organizers are putting the final touches on another fundraiser for shooting victim Will Barton as the 20-year-old continues to make strides in his recovery.

Barton, a 2010 graduate of Point Loma High School, was shot three times in the head in the early hours of Oct. 29 as he walked to his father’s Mission Hills home after finishing a late shift working at a Hillcrest restaurant.

The shooter, a wanted criminal, was killed by San Diego police during an Oct. 31 shootout in Barrio Logan.

Barton’s fighting spirit has been a major factor as he clung to life for several weeks in a Scripps Mercy Hospital intensive-care unit before being sent to a rehabilitation facility in Encinitas for intensive physical therapy.

All are invited to help Barton’s family with large medical bills on Saturday, Jan. 19, when an afternoon of music, family fun and community bonding kicks off at Humphreys restaurant on Shelter Island.

A $10 donation will be requested at the door. 

Three bands will play during the 4 to 9:30 p.m. event, including The Mike Britt Band, Temple of the Dads and the Weener Pigs.

Humphreys donated the use of its facility and is also helping with an offer of half-price food and drinks, according to event organizer Rhonda Pitta.

A silent auction will also take place, and among the hot items already promised are a two-hour harbor tour for 20 people aboard an 80-foot yacht; a three-night stay with gourmet meals at a gorgeous home in the Sequoias; and a one-week stay in an Avon, Colo. resort.

A Dec. 15 event, held at the popular Garrison Street Christmas-light display in Point Loma, raised $4,000 through the sale of baked goods and hot chocolate. A huge poster, hung on a garage door, was filled with handwritten messages by hundreds of Peninsula residents.

“It really does help get you through each day, knowing you have so many people supporting your son’s recovery,” said Barton’s mother, Marie. 

Community members may send cards or letters to Barton with the following mailing address: Will Barton, 3366 Herman Ave., San Diego, 92104.

Improvement comes with each waking day for Barton

With the dawn of every new day, Will Barton continues to amaze the medical staff and his family with advancements in his recovery.

When paramedics rushed Barton to Scripps Mercy Hospital early on the morning of Oct. 29, they figured his life was over. Shot three times in the head and suffering from a massive loss of blood, the situation was dire.

But Barton continues to prove the naysayers wrong.

From the moment they first saw their son in the intensive-care unit of Scripps Mercy Hospital, father Will Barton and mother Marie Najera knew their son was a fighter.

Milestones in Barton’s recovery, as taken from notes in a journal, kept mainly by Najera:

• Nov. 4 (while in intensive care): “Will was responding to his family by blinking his eyes on command, and has been able to move his head and exhibit some facial expressions.”

• Nov. 7: “Doctors are planning on removing his ventilator today. His fever has broken.”

• Nov. 10: “Will’s feeding tube has been removed from his mouth and relocated to his tummy.”

• Nov. 11: “Doctors removed the ventilator machine last night as Will is breathing on his own now.”

• Nov: 13: “Will has been moved to a room with a view on the tenth floor (no more ICU).”

• Nov. 14: “(Will) did 15 minutes of physical therapy. He was wiped out after that.”

• Nov. 19: “He moved his right foot and toes for me yesterday. This was a first, and an amazing start to his recovery.”

• Nov. 26: “(Will) has passed his swallow test, and has been cleared to eat ice chips. He can now speak just like himself, as his trach(eotomy) has been reduced in size.”

• Nov. 27: “Will has moved to an acute-care facility in Hillcrest. He is breathing on his own. He is doing more than any doctor anticipated. He is trying to work up to three hours of physical therapy before he moves to another facility that specializes in his type of recovery.”

• Nov. 30: “Will’s trach(eotomy) has been removed completely, and he had pancakes and eggs for breakfast today! We are so proud of our boy! Much more physical therapy is still needed to get him moving again.” 

• Dec. 3: “Will is healing so very fast. He is able to lift his right leg and some of his right shoulder. Sunday was the first time in over a month that we heard Will laugh. He was extremely happy and thankful for everything and everyone in his life. I am amazed by his healing powers and his will to carry on day in and day out.”

• Dec. 4: “Will met with his speech therapist. She is giving him much harder tasks now that she knows him. Will is slowly starting to move his left leg. He still gets dizzy when they stand him up.”

• Dec. 5: “Now (Will) is actually moving the whole leg up off the bed about three inches. Hopefully soon he will be able to walk.  I am so excited for him!”

• Dec. 13: “Will is in (Scripps) Encinitas Rehabilitation Hospital. If you would like to visit, the doctors suggest coming after 3:30 p.m. He will be done with all of his (many hours of) therapies by then.”

• Dec. 18: “(Will) has started a more intense PT today. They had him in a machine that helps him to stand up. He is doing a great job of staying positive. I am amazed by his strength and will power.”

• Dec. 20: “After a month and a few weeks, Will finally got to take a shower.”

• Dec. 26: “Will is starting to move the left side of his body. It’s not very pretty and it’s very shaky but he can almost touch his mouth with his hand.”

• Jan. 2: “Will has started to use his left hand to feed himself. He does require help, but it is so satisfying to him.”

• Jan. 5: “The hospital is loading up their van and taking Will to Swami’s (Beach for an hour).”
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January 17, 2013
So sorry for what happened to this an amazing fighter. All the best to you and your family.