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Violence in Sitges [ Thursday, 29 Sep 05 | 17:34 ]
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Here is a recounting of double_ohsteven's mugging attack last Sunday morning.

I had a very late Friday night and didn´t get back to the hostal until after 08.30 in the morning. By that time it was daytime here in Spain. I didn’t get much sleep during the day either and started a long nap early Saturday evening. Steve woke me up around 21.00 to tell me that the person he was supposed to meet, David from Tarragona, didn’t show up. So Steve headed off for a night of revelry while I went back to sleep. Although I woke up a couple of times during the night, I never did get out Saturday night.

Around 06.00 on Sunday I heard the door of the room open and Steve stumbled through the doorway. “I was attacked. I think my arm is broken.” I checked his arm and found that he could move his fingers and had touch sensation throughout his arm. I didn’t see any protruding bones, but did notice that his left arm did not fall naturally.

Steve thought his left arm was dislocated and wanted me to pull on it to try and reposition it. I didn’t feel comfortable doing so and told him that, but went ahead anyway. It didn’t seem to make any difference.

I also cleaned a cut on his left elbow and used mouthwash as an antiseptic. Luckily Steve had a large bandage so I could cover the wound.

Steve told me that he was on his way back to the hostal, only 50 meters away at the corner of Termes and Plaza España when two young men attacked him from behind. They tried to strangle him and Steve fell to the street with them punching and kicking him. Steve lost consciousness and the assailants fled with his watch, worth about 100 €. His attackers did not get his wallet which had money and credit cards. About the time Steve regained consciousness a person came upon him on the street and helped him get to the hostal.

(When I go out, I don’t take my wallet and only enough money to cover the evening’s activities. I think one is more apt to lose belongings in cuartos oscuros than from street attacks.)

I asked Steve if he wanted me to get an ambulance and he was adverse to that. He wanted to lie down for a while. A little later Steve got up to go to the bathroom. He felt dizzy and lost consciousness, fortunately he fell on the bed. I freaked.

I went to the intercom at the front door (our room was on the ground floor a few meters away.) I was able to talk to the hostal manager and told him about the situation. He said that he would be there in 5 minutes.

Steve had regained consciousness and went to the bathroom. Meanwhile the hostal manager arrived and we decided to call an ambulance. Steve was concerned about costs, but because we didn’t know the extent of his injuries, I thought it was best to take an ambulance to an ER.

While I was getting Steve dressed, two guardia urbana (local police) cars and an ambulance showed up. There was bedlam as Steve wanted me to help him get dressed and the police were asking me questions in castellano and I was translating to English for Steve to answer. They asked the usual questions of when, where, what happened, and could Steve identify the attackers (no).

We got into the ambulance and I rode in the back with Steve. They took us to a hospital about 10 km away from Sitges run by the Generalitat (Catalan government.) It was a little after 10.00 when we arrived.

They asked for Steve´s passport and insurance card, which we made sure he had on his person before we took off. At the hospital we had to pay the ambulance company 56 € for the trip.

I was waiting in the reception room and Steve asked for me to be let into the ER. Soon they took him away for X-rays. While he was away, the doctor came in told me in castellano that Steve had a broken shoulder and that he needed an operation to have it repaired. He also said it would be better to have it done in the US and that there was no rush, Steve could wait a week. I felt a bit relieved.

Steve came back to the patient room and I told him what the doctor told me. Steve of course had more questions than I was able to answer. Later the doctor returned and went over what he had told me earlier. Steve asked for a prescription for pain and just before we left the hospital he got a calmante injection.

We went to the reception area and Steve paid the bill with a credit card. It totaled 149 €. They gave him a big envelope with the 3 X-rays, prescription, and a sheet with the diagnosis.

They called a taxi for us and before long we were back at the hostal a little after noon. Once there, I asked the manager if he knew which farmácia was open on Sunday. Using Google, he found one in a rato. I knew right where it was.

His wife wanted to know what the prescription was and I showed it to her. She said that the medication was muy fuerte (very strong) and that Steve should take a stomach protector. She wrote this and Omeprazole on the back of the prescription. She must have had some medical training in order to come up with the generic name for Prilosec.

I headed up to the farmácia and within a few minutes had both the pain pills and stomach protector for 10 €. (In Spain medications are pre-packed in boxes and so there is no waiting for the pharmacist to count capsules.)

After getting back to the hostal room I gave Steve a sponge bath. I was surprised that he never had had one before. I am sure he must have as an infant, but he wouldn’t remember that. I put Steve back in bed and he spent much of the afternoon sleeping.

Later we went to a locutorio where Steve called Gary and informed him about what had happened. We went back to the room for Steve to rest some more.

News traveled fast and we got a call from Mikel in Bilbao who had read fuzzygruf's posting. Steve had visited Mikel last week.

Steve was getting hungry and we headed out looking for food. We ran into a bunch of meeting attendees, including two of the club founders, LLuis and Manel. Later it started to sprinkle so we headed to El Horno for drinks. For dinner we ended up at the cena oficial where Dani took the pictures that appear in my previous posting.

Manel said that such attacks never used to happen in Sitges. He thought that the assailants were probably arabes without papers. (What they call “illegal aliens” in the US.) Since they have no identification it is difficult to prosecute or deport them.

Since Spain is the closest country to Africa, many people try to cross the Strait of Gibraltar or climb the fence in either Ceuta or Melilla, two Spanish cities in Morocco. Once they get here, they have no job or money and resort to crime.

Manel was very concerned that the local police were being complacent and wants to follow up on Steve´s attack with the police chief. Rumor has that there were two other attacks Sunday as well as Steven's. I noticed more foot patrols Sunday than on previous days.

[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Friday, 30 Sep 05 | 08:28 (UTC)


Whoa... Freaky situation down there in Sitges. You see, Barcelona and sorroundings are not a place with much crime but they can still happen.

What I don't understand is why the guy had to pay for everything, hum.

Sitges closest hospital is in Vilanova i la Geltrú, that's where you went. Every public hospital belongs to the Servei Català de la Salut (Catalan Health Service) - Except Hospital Clínic and some other in Barcelona.

Next time keep this numbers: 112 for emergencies, 088 for the Catalan police (crime), 092 for the local police (might not work from a cell phone).

You can also call me if you need instant help - You're my friend and though in England I can give you further directions.
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Friday, 30 Sep 05 | 09:00 (UTC)

Re: Freaky

They make extranjeros pay, if they have the money. They just don't ask for your credit card primero like they do in the US. (You can die in an ER in the US waiting for attention while they check your credit.)

I know the numbers to call, but Steve was a bit reticent. When he blacked out, I immediately started to call and get help. I have your number too. :-)

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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Friday, 30 Sep 05 | 09:02 (UTC)

Re: Freaky

Good to know!
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