Close call for injured officer
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If Waikato police officer Simon Sia hadn’t had his partner with him during a callout in February, the 35-year-old PST constable might not be here today to tell his dramatic story.
Simon and his partner, Constable Mikkah Drake, were on night shift when they were called to a Morrinsville address to deal with a troubled man who they found out was in breach of his bail conditions.
When the man realised he was going to be arrested, even though the officers’ intention was to take him for a mental health assessment, he fled, with Simon in close pursuit.
As the man ran through the open front door of the house, he pushed the wooden door, which had three glass panels, to shut it behind him. Simon was already in the doorway when the door was slammed.
In a reflexive action, he raised his left arm. A glass panel shattered into his arm, slicing it all the way up to his wrist and through his forearm.
Not immediately realising the extent of the injury, Simon carried on chasing the man.
“I thought I might have a little cut…” Then he looked down and saw “blood pouring out like a waterfall and squirting like a sprinkler from my wrist”.
His ulnar artery had been punctured and glass had sliced through the tendons, ligaments and nerves in his wrist.
“I just saw heaps of blood and I thought, I’m in big trouble.”
He tried to brace his arm against his body and to cover his forearm with his right hand.
Mikkah, close behind, had caught and cuffed the fleeing man. “He didn’t realise I was bleeding as badly as I was,” says Simon. “He turned around and said, ‘Oh my God… can you get to the car?’
“Mikkah put the guy in the back seat, grabbed the first-aid kit and the tourniquet and then called comms. Mikkah is ex-army and knew what he was doing.
“Then Delta turned up and someone had an Israeli bandage and put it on top of the other bandages. They used all the bandages, but blood was still seeping through.
“I had never seen so much blood in my life. It was everywhere. It looked like I had jumped into a knee-high swimming pool of blood.”
The ambulance was at least 20 minutes away, so the officers took Simon to meet it halfway. Simon was starting to feel dizzy and continued to be amazed at the amount of blood he was losing.
As it turned out, he had lost nearly three litres of the stuff. He needed a blood transfusion and then, the following day, a five-hour micro-surgery operation to reconnect his arteries, nerves and ligaments.
The incident has long-term ramifications for Simon, who joined Police in 2018, after 10 years in the hospitality industry where he worked as the duty manager at SkyCity in Hamilton.
He’s back at work on light duties now, but he’s been told it could be six months to two years, depending on how his therapy goes, before proper function of his hand and arm is restored. He can’t do any heavy lifting and must avoid vibration or repetitive movements. He can drive and do computer work.
It certainly hasn’t put him off police work and he feels no animosity to the person he was trying to apprehend. “I have encountered a lot more dangerous people. He wasn’t trying to hurt me, even though his actions did cause me to be seriously injured.”
He acknowledges his “luck” – being right-handed, having access to a tourniquet (introduced in Waikato District before the national rollout started in April), but, most of all, having his partner there. “If I hadn’t had someone with me, I would have been in big trouble. I would probably have died.”