James MacMartin, 47, of Glasgow, was walking home from a pub on Dumbarton Road around 9.30pm, having attended a funeral earlier in the day.
James was at the corner of Dumbarton Road and Peel Street, in the Partick area of Glasgow, when he was set upon by a man who launched into a tirade of punches and kicks, eventually throwing James out on the road into oncoming traffic.
He avoided being struck by any vehicle, but his jaw was shattered and he suffered three blood clots to the brain, after being struck on the ground several times. He had two metal plates inserted into his lower jaw.
However, thanks to the swift response by a Scottish Ambulance Service crew, manned by paramedics Nikki Webster and Lynne Ruthven – who arrived within minutes – he received emergency medical attention.
James was reunited with the pair recently and only now has he been able to speak about the attack.
Recalling the day on September 26, 2018, he said: “I was in a public bar. Earlier in the day, I had been to a pal’s funeral in Maryhill. I went back to the pub where the wake was held.
“I left about 9pm that evening, just to go home – I had finished my pint, and after leaving the pub, I was walking at the corner of Dumbarton Road and Peel Street, and was at the junction, when I was seriously assaulted by someone.
“It was just random – he was in the pub previously and left about 15 minutes before I left. I was walking home, and had just come around the corner. He started to punch and kick me while I was on the ground – he was punching me in the head.”
James says he remembers little of the day, or the attack, which his attacker was subsequently sentenced to 28 months jail in January. A judge described it as a “serious assault which was devastating for the victim.” James has only learned what happened in the aftermath.
His attacker admitted assaulting James to his severe injury and to the danger of his life under provocation.
After Nikki and Lynne, along with another crew member, assessed his injuries, he was rushed to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. He had an emergency operation before spending three days in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and a further two weeks in hospital.
After returning home, he has since been recovering “very, very slowly”, including attending sessions at the Brain Injury Clinic in Glasgow.
Since the assault, James - a lorry driver by trade - has had his licence revoked by the DVLA, given the severity of his brain injury. He is considering now becoming a paramedic.
He said: “I don’t remember a thing about the assault. I remember finishing a pint, and the next thing I remember is waking up in hospital. Once I was out of Intensive Care, people in the pub came and told me what had happened.
“I was disgusted – it was very scary. I was told by the nurses as well; they did not think I was going to make it through the night – I was in a bad state. I was really in a bad, bad way. I was full of drugs from the ambulance crew.”
Speaking about the response from SAS’s emergency responders, he said: “they saved my life that day”.
He continued: “I don’t think in their line of work they get the opportunity to receive thanks for what they do.
“If they did not get me to hospital quickly it could have been different - that made a difference, without a doubt. I know it’s their job, but they were fantastic – I will be forever grateful.”
James also thanked the surgeon who performed his operation and dental surgeon who inserted two metal plates into his lower jaw.