Rochester EEE Patient Returns Home to Cheering Family After Seven Months
Robert Hiller, the Rochester man who fell into a coma after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis last summer, finally came home Tuesday.
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.
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.