SAFFORD – An assault victim was flown to a Tucson hospital Saturday night after suffering severe eye trauma.
A Safford officer was dispatched to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center (MGRMC) at about 8:14 p.m. regarding an assault. The victim, a Hispanic man, had blood on his hands and shirt and a bandage that covered both of his eyes.
The victim allegedly told the officer that he was walking along 2nd Street in the Tortilla Flats area when a white car and white truck suddenly pulled up next to him. He said a man exited one of the vehicles and punched him “without warning or provocation,” according to the police report. The victim said he was repeatedly punched and kicked several times during the assault.
After his assailant(s) left, an unknown woman stopped and asked if the victim needed help. She transported him to MGRMC and dropped him off at the entrance to the Emergency Room. The victim then walked himself into the hospital.
According to hospital staff, the victim had a laceration above his left eye as well as a retinal laceration to the same eye. A retinal tear can lead to detachment, in which the retina (the transparent, light-sensitive structure at the back of an eye) separates from the underlying layer to which it is attached.
Laser surgery is usually utilized to seal retinal tears and detachments, however, large detachments may require placing a silicone band around the eye.
The officer attempted to get a description of the individuals involved in the assault, but the victim said he was starting to feel nauseous and could not answer any more questions. At that time, the flight crew informed the officer that they were ready to transport the victim to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson Campus.