A One-in-a-Billion Story

Diana and Paul Barker were enjoying a friend’s birthday celebration in an upscale Kingwood restaurant when the evening took a sudden turn.

“I heard an almighty bang and told my husband, ‘I’ve been shot,’ just before I slumped to the floor,” Diana says. A bullet had struck her when a loaded gun fell from the pocket of a nearby diner and discharged.

“By coincidence, one of our sons was having dinner in the restaurant,” Paul says. “Within minutes, the police and ambulance arrived and we were on our way to Harris Health Ben Taub Hospital.”

 “As the doctors started to examine me, they cut away my clothes,” Diana recalls. “I thought, ‘There goes my best blue blouse,’ and I remember nothing else for the next several days.”

The bullet had entered Diana’s left buttock and traveled through her large and small intestines before lodging in her right rib cage. She was soon in surgery for repairs and removal of damaged portions of the intestines. By now, both of their sons were at the hospital, and the three men waited.

Paul describes the event: “We were in shock. It was a life or death situation, and she received excellent care. Throughout it all, the staff kept us informed. They saved her life.”

Because the bullet damaged Diana’s sciatic nerve, her left foot is paralyzed. She was fitted with a brace to help her walk and now has graduated from a walker to a cane. She recently had a series of surgeries to repair the nerve in hopes of reclaiming full use of her foot. She is happy to drive again, increasing her independence.

In a letter to David S. Lopez, president and CEO, Harris Health System, Paul wrote, “We will be forever grateful for all that was done for this much-loved wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many people, not only locally, but around the country and overseas.”

“My life stopped for about four months,” Diana says. “This has been a big shock to my family and to the community. I would say there was about a one-in-a-billion chance of something like this happening to me. I’m certainly well-known in Kingwood now. I’ve been stopped by strangers who tell me they have been praying for me.”

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