Norwich man dies nearly six years after being hit by car
The family of a Norwich hit and run victim who spent almost six years in a persistent vegetative state revealed their anger and anguish after their loving brother and son passed away from pneumonia.
Paul Dix was hit by a car outside his Drayton Road home on January 22, 2006 and succumbed to a chest infection four weeks ago.
His sister, Sarah Bridge, and mum, Jacqueline Dix, led the tributes to the 43-year-old roofer who never recovered when he was run over.
“The only thing he could do was open his eyes,” said Sarah. “He just laid motionless in his wheelchair. We never knew if he was there or not.”
When Sarah discovered her brother would not recover she locked herself in her bathroom and wouldn’t speak to anyone. “You just don’t believe it,” she said. “We lost Paul five-and-a-half years ago. I have been grieving since then, but it was still a shock.
“We were not expecting it to happen now. You have to grieve again. You are going through it twice.”
But after the tragedy the family continued to cling on to hope that he might recover.
Sarah, 46, a cleaner at Heartsease Primary School, said: “You have that hope but you knew he wouldn’t recover. You are always looking for a sign.”
“You are looking for a miracle,” added mum Jacqueline.
They made Paul’s life as comfortable as they could through a £10,000 fundraising campaign which bought him a motorised wheelchair.
“We kitted his room out with new curtains and bought him lovely clothes at his birthday,” said Jacqueline. “He loved all the brand name clothes.”
When Paul fell ill on Friday September 2 the family discussed what his future would be.
“His quality of life was nothing,” said Jacqueline. “They (the hospital staff) put him on antibiotics and oxygen and did their best.”
On the night of his accident doctors doubted he would pull through, but Paul battled on for the next five and a half years.
“He was a lovely lad and game for anything,” said Sarah. “He was so full of life. He loved his family and doted on his sons and daughter.”
The Manchester United fan had worked as a roofer at Carrow Road and to mark his love for music the family played his favourite bands, Oasis, Bob Marley and That’s Entertainment by The Jam at his funeral.
“He was always up and dancing to that one,” said Jacqueline.
Paul became a grandad to two children while in his vegetative state and his family continued to treat him as their son and brother through the last half decade, taking him on trips to Great Yarmouth and bringing him to all the family birthdays, Mother’s Days and celebrations.
“We used to take him all over the place,” said Sarah. ““He was included in everything. Our life revolved around Paul. Everything was affected by him. His loss is a massive hole in our life.”
Jacqueline’s husband Roger passed away from a second bout of lung cancer in 2008, and at her Capps Road home, Jacqueline, 64, keeps framed photos of her son and husband side-by-side on her bookshelf.
Paul’s friends also continued to visit him at Oak Farm Clinic on Fakenham Road, watching the football and films.
“We didn’t know if Paul could hear so we talked about the old times,” said Sarah.
And hundreds of friends came to remember Paul at his funeral in Earlham Crematorium. “There were so many standing outside,” said Jacqueline. “They couldn’t all get in. Someone started clapping and I would like to say thank you.”
Paul succumbed to pneumonia and the head injury caused by the accident at lunchtime on Saturday September 10 after a week at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
On January 22, 2006, Paul Dix, who had turned 38 four days before, was out celebrating his birthday with a group of friends.
As he made his way across Drayton Road outside his home he was struck by the car.
The driver drove on and fled to a friend’s house.
Paul’s mum Jacqueline had to go past the scene of the accident to get to her son’s bedside in hospital.
“We rushed up there and it was all cordoned off,” she said.
His sister Sarah had been called by Paul’s wife and when they reached Norfolk and Norwich Hospital a nurse told them Paul had hurt his head.
“We said ‘we know’,” recalled Sarah. The day before Paul had been doing DIY and hit his head on a cupboard.
A woman from Lakenham received a six-month driving ban and a £50 fine after admitting dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene.
Her driving licence had expired due to medical restrictions.
When she appeared in court Paul’s family said they got the impression that she did not understand what she had done.
Paul was moved to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and when he came out was taken to Caroline House Care Home on Unthank Road.
The family then moved him to Oak Farm Clinic on Fakenham Road in Taverham, where he received round-the-clock care until his death on September 10 this year.