A Vancouver woman who was brutally assaulted in Mexico is back in B.C., and has undergone surgery for her injuries.
Jamie Coutts was vacationing in Playa del Carmen earlier this month, when she says she was assaulted outside a bar while trying to get a man to leave her friend alone.
Peter Nowaczek, a professional boxer from Toronto, was charged this week with attempted murder, according to the Quintana Roo Attorney General’s Office.
Coutts told Global News Wednesday she’d undergone surgery Monday, was “doing OK,” and was surviving with the help of “lots of painkillers and ice.”
“They went in through my mouth and they put metal plates in there, and they went into two spots in my cheek and put in metal plates to hold my bones together there, and then they went in along my nose and put a metal plate into my nose as well,” she said.
She said she will still require cosmetic surgery and dental work, and expects to be left with scars when all is said and done — a process she expects to take months.
Getting home from Mexico proved to be a challenge of its own.
Coutts was given a “fit to fly” letter clearing her for air travel, but she said once she boarded her flight the airline became concerned she might not be safe to transport and nearly made her deboard before takeoff.
“It worked out, they kept me on the plane and they did everything they could to get me home, and if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be home right now,” she said.
“The pilot and the crew actually fought to keep me on, and they flew at a lower altitude just to get home safely.”
Coutts said she still doesn’t remember the actual assault that left her in need of surgery, but she remembers what happened leading up to it.
She and a group of friends had been at the Coyote Lounge Bar, where a man had been coming onto her friend, and wouldn’t take no for an answer, she said.
“We were nervous of him finding out where we were staying, so that’s when me and Genevieve stepped in and said you know what, she said no, it’s time for you to leave, and he didn’t like that answer,” she said.
“I actually don’t remember being hit. My last memory is of him walking the opposite direction. But I guess he’d walked in the opposite direction to get a bit of a running start at me.
“When I woke up, I just remember being covered in blood and just holding my face and just screaming in pain.”
Coutts’ friend also suffered a head injury that required stitches.
In addition to the long road to physical recovery, Coutts said she’s dealing with financial stress as well.
She’s on the hook for medical bills in Mexico, as she didn’t have travel insurance, will need to pay for cosmetic reconstructive surgery, and will need to pay a lawyer as she works through the legal aspects of her case.
She’s also currently unable to work.
Friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign for her, which has to date raised more than $43,000.
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