Caregivers, SWAT team join forces in 'Extreme Makeover'

By Connie Piloto

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Two UT Southwestern physicians credited with saving the life of a wounded Dallas police SWAT officer and two of the physical therapists who helped get him back on the road to recovery were among the thousands of volunteers who helped build him a new wheelchair-accessible home as part of the reality TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

The ABC show will air Oct. 18, telling the story of Lt. Carlton Marshall, who was shot in the neck in 2007 during a drug raid. He spent months as a patient at UT Southwestern University Hospital – Zale Lipshy and continues his outpatient recovery at the physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic.

Members of the Dallas Special Weapons and Tactics team — which includes Dr. Jeffery Metzger, assistant professor of emergency medicine, and Dr. Alexander Eastman, clinical assistant professor of surgery — nominated Lt. Marshall and his family for a home makeover, as did physical therapist Traci Bacon and senior occupational therapist Beth Daniels, who wrote to the show's producers.

“There were so many alterations that needed to be made to meet his needs that he really needed a new home,” said Ms. Daniels, who joined Ms. Daniels on a visit to the officer's home. “His win made us feel like we won, too, because this new home will allow him to be the best he can be.”

On July 9, the show's star, Ty Pennington, delivered the news at the family's Lancaster home, joined by Drs. Eastman and Metzger.

Lt. Marshall, his wife, Susan — an Irving police officer in the criminal investigative division — and the couple's two young children were sent on a vacation to Disneyland.

Once the Marshall family was chosen as a finalist, the show's designer consulted with Ms. Bacon and Ms. Daniels so they could create a home that was wheelchair accessible.

It took seven days for the volunteers and workers to complete the home by the time the family returned to Texas.

“Without question, one of the most emotional weeks of my career,” Dr. Eastman said quietly. “Watching Carlton's face when we knocked on his door, and then seeing it again when he saw his new home for the first time reminded me why we do what we do out there.”

Lt. Marshall said the house is beautiful, and he was humbled to see how many people came together to help him and his family.

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