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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
In A Blink Of An Eye - Accident Update In Maui Channel Swim
Dear Maui Channel Swimmers,
Thank you all for participating in the 2011 Maui Channel Swim. The conditions this year were certainly challenging and made for an exciting but difficult swim. We saw exceptional endurance, adventure, and achievement, but this year we also saw tragedy.
John Caughlin, one of our solo swimmers making the crossing, was hit by a boat as he was approaching the finish line. Lifeguards on Jet skis were immediately on the scene to rescue and provide emergency treatment for John, but the boat propeller had caused horrific injuries to both arms, and he was rushed to Maui Memorial Hospital.
Despite heroic efforts in an 11-hour operation, the surgeons were unable to salvage John's right arm and it was removed above the elbow. The left arm was reconstructed; however there was extensive damage to the left hand. John's left index finger, thumb, and a portion of the hand had been traumatically amputated by the propeller.
The remaining three fingers sustained multiple fractures and severe lacerations. Just 4 days after the incident, John underwent another surgery to reconstruct what remains of his left hand. Additional surgical procedures and grafts will be needed to continue the reconstruction. John will remain hospitalized in Maui for another week and will then have the opportunity to return to California for continued treatment.
Without the use of either of his hands, John will require 24/7 care for quite some time, and has a long, hard recovery ahead of him including surgeries and rehabilitation over the next twelve months and beyond.
This was John's third Maui Channel Swim and his first solo. He has participated in many challenging open water events both in California and Hawaii. Anyone who knows John personally, will tell you what an uncomplaining, determined and generous spirit he has. It is people like John that make us all proud to be a part of the open water swimming community.
We know that many of you want to reach out to John and support him during his recovery. For those who would like to make a monetary contribution, a Pay Pal account has been set up in John's name and can be accessed here.
Cards and letters of encouragement can be sent in care of his sister, Jennifer Dorsey at: 1210 Green Orchard Place, Encinitas, CA 92024, U.S.A. For those who would like to offer other assistance, all support is welcome.
John has enormous challenges ahead. We want to support him in meeting these challenges. We look forward to sending out news of John's recovery and healing. In the meantime, we send our prayers.
We are sending this letter out to the Swim Team Captains, as that is the only email we have on the application. We ask that each team captain send this letter to every member of his/her team and to their boat captain if possible.
Ian Emberson, Race Director
Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source
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