'Summer Vacation I Want to Forget': Surgeons in Split Save Tourist's Life After Terrible Accident
After the swimmer got struck by a catamaran propeller, hospital staff in Split saved his life Last week, we reported that an unnamed individual was seriously injured by a catamaran propeller in Borovna bay, on the islet of Šćedar near Hvar. New information surfaces as Jutarnji reports on the aftermath of the terrible accident on August 21, 2017. The injured swimmer is an Italian ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) named Tito Sala; aged 64 and a resident of Venice, he works in the hospital Immacolata Concezione Piove di Sacco. Previous information on the injured man getting preliminary treatment from an Austrian doctor seems to be incorrect, as Mr Sala is alive today thanks to his own medical knowledge and the help of his wife Giulietta, who followed his instructions in the crucial moments before help arrived at the site. The injured swimmer was transported to Split by the HGSS and the officials of the Port Authority Hvar. He was rushed to the hospital in Firule, where the doctors at the Clinical Hospital Centre Split fought for his life for no less than seven hours. "It could've been worse. Even though my blood pressure plummeted, I was fortunate enough not to lose consciousness. If I haven't managed to climb back on board and if my leg hasn't been tightly wrapped before help came along, it would've been the end of me", stated the Italian doctor. Mrs Sala, who stays at her husband's bedside around the clock, seems to be far more shaken up. "I will never forget the image of the sea filled with blood. I froze, helpless. When he managed to dive out, in spite of being repeatedly struck by waves, he remained lucid. The propeller cut his tibia and the adjacent artery, and the blood just kept spouting out. Even though he was in pain, he was aware his leg needed to be tied up, as we was afraid of getting gangrene or even bleeding to death. He kept saying, 'keep applying pressure to my leg, hold it here so the bleeding stops. Wrap it as tight as you can.' It took about an hour for the help to arrive. I still can't understand how it all happened in a second", stated Mrs Sala. How did it happen? After a swim in the picturesque bay, Mr. Sala started to climb onto the catamaran. While he was standing at the uppermost step, the boat started to spin and he lost his balance. He fell into the sea, and the whirlpool sucked him under the surface – directly onto the propeller. An unfortunate example of how an accident can happen in a split second, even when there's nobody to blame. The surgeons not only saved the Italian's life, but also managed to save his leg. "The doctors in the hospital in Split are wonderful. It was a seven-hour surgery. The waiting got to me, but they fixed his leg, connected all the blood vessels and saved him", said Mrs Sala, adding she erased everything she had posted on social media about their holiday. "We've been through a journey that turned into a nightmare. It's a summer vacation I want to forget. I simply know it's going to take a lot of years before the images fade and I manage to see the real colour of sea water again without thinking of blood", she said. Mr Sala has more than 30.000 surgeries under his belt, and he's also known as a volunteer who worked pro bono in the North Kinangop hospital in Kenya. We wish best of luck to him and his family, and hope he will recover soon.