Amazing Garrick

Reporter: Monika Kos

Garrick Bott will never really know if it was quick thinking or just adrenaline that saved his life - it doesn't really matter. The 26 year old survived an accident so shocking, doctors are stunned.Garrick says “once I got into the water I realised that it was in there pretty deep, i tried to grab it out there and then but it was too painful”

“He had a gidgie that had impacted in his groin and it had all the potential to do lots of damage” Dr Andrew Baker said.

February last year - Garrick had knocked off work and had headed to Two Rocks Marina to catch fish with his gidgie spear.. It was about 10.30 at night. The fishing had been ordinary, but the night was about to get much, much worse

“I was walking along the top of the rocks with a torch in one hand the gidgie in the other, I just saw something at the last minute and stepped towards it and the rock just moved as rocks do” Garrick slipped - the torch was lost and the razer sharp gidgie fell, embedding in the sand. Garrick fell two metres...and actually landed right on top of the spear tip. “I just dropped my body weight onto it basically in the water”

In the darkness and alone - Garrick floated in the water, impaled on the harpoon.

“it was pretty painful it was just huge directly on the inside of the bone on you leg so it was quite close to the groin area, went through the artery the barbs so yeah quite painful” As Garrick floated, bleeding and in dreadful pain, he knew his only chance was to climb the embankment of rocks. It seemed absolutely impossible. But in an amazingly inspired moment, as if by miracle, dolphins appeared around him and gave him strength.

“that's when I tried to get out of the water that's' when I see the dolphins swimming around me and that you normally see them now and then but they were just there on the spot yeah I just put up with the pain”

In the darkness Garrick hauled himself out of the water, all the while supporting the huge spear protruding from his body.

“I got up onto one of the rocks and just used sort of one leg and one arm to sort of climb up the rocks basically yeah”

Garrick knew he was terrible trouble - but he didn't' know just how much

The entire head of the gidgie had embedded in Garrick's groin - two of the barbs piercing his femeral artery - it was a potentially deadly situation

“I was just in shock just pain that' all I could really think of sort of felt like a dead leg and it felt like my leg was dying”

Dr Andrew Baker says “The gidgie had entered the femeral artery in the thigh which is the main blood vessel carry blood to the lower leg and foot it really had damaged that vessel beyond repair”

Vascular surgeon Dr Andrew Baker was part of the surgical team that would eventually undertake life saving surgery at sir Charles gardener hospital... they ended up with only minutes to spare in the race to save Garricks leg from amputation.

“In that situation the patient really does have the opportunity to bleed to death it's important that they get to help quickly”

“Garricks his leg was dying, although the gidgie had blocked circulation, he was lucky at the same time - had he managed to dislodge the spear - he would have bleed to death in three minutes... so it was critical the spear stay where it was, stuck in his groin. What he did next, is just mind boggling.”

Garrick says “I probably walked about 10 or 15 metres to the car I was just screaming you know screaming for help and that someone must have heard me some kids I think they were like male and female probably 15 or something they came down it was just too dark pitch black I really couldn't see anything I think they got more scared more than anything”

The strangers raced away to call an ambulance and Garrick was alone again - it was then he realised he couldn't wait and had to make the life and death decision to drive himself - the gidgie was still in his leg and he could feel it, as he sat in the drivers seat.

“The cushion on the seat on the inside my leg was just sitting on it sort of could feel the point of the barb”

With the pole protruding he was unable to shut the car door and drove with his foot holding the door open “I was just driving along looking for a house that was open so I could go in there rock up and knock on the door but all the houses on the way were all locked up you know so I just kept on going basically I was going to try and get myself back to Joondalup”

As he drove into the night Garrick saw the lights of an ambulance ahead - he started flashing his high-beam to attract attention

“I tried to get out of the car but couldn't really move at that stage so I managed to get up with them they just chucked me straight on a stretcher”

Garrick was taken to Joondalup hospital and then on to Sir Charles Gairdner hospital where he underwent 2 hours of delicate surgery to remove the Gidgie and replace the damaged artery.. It was an incredible success. “I was back to normal a bit of pain still a bit weak and a bit sensitive and that a few nerves gone and other than that A grade basically” It's been 12 months since surgery saved Garricks life, he's due for his last hospital check soon.

The memory of that night will never leave Garrick... he says it was the night that changed his life.