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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Determined Lady who lost her both legs to accident tackles challenges, becomes first medical doctor with disability in the US

A determined lady named Shima Nixon who lost both her legs in an accident overcomes challenges to become the first medical doctor with a disability in the United States.

Shima Nixon was involved in a traumatic car accident. 2013 while in Nursing school at Pitt Community College which caused her to lose her left leg above the knee later on lost her right leg below the knee.

Not giving up after her treatment, Shima decided to start her prosthetic (artificial device or limb that replaces a missing or non-functioning part of the body) leg journey according to Hanger Clinic.com.

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She started walking with the aid of the Prosthetic, going through months of intense rehabilitation. Shima made progress, moving from a wheelchair to waking with two canes, and eventually started walking on her own.

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Against all odds, in May 2016, Shima went back to school to complete an associate degree in Recreational Therapy Assistant. She proceeded to Georgia Southern University where she bagged a bachelor’s degree in Recreational Therapy.

Shima also took up adaptive sports like wheelchair basketball and began to peer visit other amputees which made her accept herself more. She started working as a recreational therapist for prison men where she saw another amputee with little or no care.

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She stated that seeding the amputee inspired her to consider a career as a prosthetist/orthotist (O&P). Shima began applying to O&P master’s programs and was accepted to multiple schools.


Shima chose Alabama State University, the only historically black college and university (HBCU) with the program because her purpose included addressing the racial disparities present in O&P, where many patients of color do not have a clinician who looks like them.

“I don’t mind standing in the gap, being the blueprint and showing other amputees, females, and especially African Americans as a whole, that those positions you don’t see yourself in are the main ones you should pursue,” Shima said.

I know that once I become a prosthetist, my patients will be grateful to see that their clinician not only looks like them, but IS like them,” she added.

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She was awarded the Hanger Foundation Diversity Scholarship, which supported her studies at Alabama State University. She obtained a Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics.

After her graduation, she started her O&P residency with Hanger Clinic in Miami, where she is working closely with a diverse group of world-class prosthetists and orthoticists to empower others in the limb loss and limb difference community.

Shima said she is excited to serve a diverse group of patients and help show others that representation matters and that they too can overcome hurdles and live the life they’ve always dreamed of.



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