masthead_37.jpg
Local NPR for the Cape, Coast & Islands 90.1 91.1 94.3
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local News

Rochester EEE Patient Returns Home to Cheering Family After Seven Months

IMG_2213_0.jpg
Jennette Barnes
/
WCAI

Robert Hiller, the Rochester man who fell into a coma after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis last summer, finally came home Tuesday.  

 

IMG_2187.JPG
Credit Jennette Barnes / WCAI
/
WCAI
Friends and family waited at East Over Farm to greet Robert Hiller when he arrived home after treatment for EEE.

Friends and family waited at the Hiller family’s East Over Farm, which is known for its mustard-yellow barns and farmhouses lining a stretch of rural road.

Cheers and applause greeted Hiller as he approached in a silver Jeep driven by his wife, Sandi.

 

He walked about six feet with a walker and then sat in a wheelchair to greet well-wishers. He said he was happy to be home.

"I'm just going to go in and sit with my dogs and my family," he said.

IMG_2229.JPG
Credit Jennette Barnes / WCAI
/
WCAI
East Over Farms, the Hiller family farm in Rochester.

For seven months, he was under constant medical care.

 

"It’s a true miracle," his wife said of the homecoming. "I never thought the day would come. But he was a fighter, and this family fought with him."

 

The mosquito-borne virus causes inflammation of the brain and can lead to lifelong physical impairment. About a third of those who develop encephalitis from the virus die.

 
Hiller walked about six feet with a walker, and then sat in a wheelchair to greet well-wishers.