Firefighter 'looks like his old self'

Just 11 days after undergoing radical surgery to reconstruct his face, bashed firefighter Peter Fisher is back looking like "the old Pete".

The Martinborough man had bandages removed from his face yesterday before 42 staples and eight screws were taken out by medical staff.

He had undergone five hours of facial reconstruction surgery at Hutt Hospital on November 5, during which 12 metal plates were inserted in his face by a team of four surgeons.

"There's still a bit of swelling and there's some scarring, but he's looking really good," his father, Brian Fisher, said yesterday. "It's pretty remarkable, he's looking just like the old Pete."

Mr Fisher, a volunteer firefighter, had gone to eject an unwanted guest from a gathering of 14-year-olds in Martinborough on October 28 when the alleged gatecrasher is said to have attacked him.

He suffered extensive fractures to his eye sockets, nose, cheeks and mouth, including a dislodged upper palette and three missing teeth.

Repairing Mr Fisher's injured face was like doing a jigsaw puzzle, said Swee Tan, the surgeon who led the operation.

On Monday he was moved from Wellington Hospital to Porirua's ABI Rehabilitation, an ACC and Health Ministry-funded unit that provides rehabilitation services for people with traumatic brain injury or stroke.

He still had limited movement in his right side from brain damage he had received, but was making good progress, his father said.

"He's sitting up in bed now and . . . he's spending more time in a wheelchair. [On Thursday] he stood up with some help and took a few steps with a Zimmer frame."

His son had no recollection of the attack but had taken news of it in his stride, Mr Fisher said.

"If you knew Pete, he took it really well, he's got his sense of humour back and he's having [the medical staff] on a treat."

Martinborough man Milton Haira, 25, has been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, as well as assaulting four teenage girls and threatening to kill three members of the group.

He has been remanded in custody without plea until next month, when he will reappear in Masterton District Court.

Contact Seamus Boyer
Wairarapa reporter
Twitter: @SeamusBoyer

The Dominion Post