Muggers almost killed me on holiday in London – I spent four years in hospital and had 65 operations but now I'm home | The Sun

A TOURIST who almost died after a violent mugging on holiday in Britain spent the next four years in hospital and had 65 operations to rebuild his shattered skull.

Ben Finlan, from Toronto in Canada, suffered multiple skull fractures and brain bleeds after he was mugged outside a bar in central London – with his attackers still at large today.

Medics told Ben's family to fly from Canada to London immediately, as they were unsure whether he would survive the night.

Part of his skull was removed in an emergency brain decompression surgery to save his life – but the titanium mesh it was replaced with became infected, leading to more life-threatening complications.

Ben's family and his girlfriend Katherine Smith moved to London to be with him during his four-year recovery in hospital following the brutal attack on December 3, 2018.

Posting on TikTok, Katherine said: "Ben was attacked in London in December 2018.

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"His mum got a call from the police and the Canadian embassy to let us know that Ben was in life-threatening condition due to a severe brain bleed.

"They told us to get there right away because they weren't sure if he was going to make it through the night.

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"Then the surgeons called us and asked if they could actually remove his skull to take some of the pressure off his brain.

"We took the overnight flight to England the next day."

She added: "Ben was in a coma for ten days, and was eventually moved out of the ICU.

"Ben continued to decline really quickly so we had to put in a titanium mesh plate – because he didn't have a skull, the skin was starting to push down on his brain.

"Unfortunately, the skin and the mesh became entwined and developed an infection, so we had to take out the mesh as well as a lot of the skin.

"Over the next four years, we had to replace the skull multiple times and try to reconstruct his scalp.

Ben's surgeries included two vein grafts on his arm, two failed transplant of back muscles to replace his scalp, over ten skin grafts from his thighs, facial reconstruction, twenty blood transfusions and an operation on a collapsed lung.

"There were just so many complications in that time – about 65 surgeries which left scarring on his wrists, legs and of course his head."

"But he's doing fantastic now and is in rehab. Once upon a time they didn't think he was going to survive and here he is.

"The people who did this to Ben were never caught but we're not focused on those losers – we're focused on Ben's recovery."

The Metropolitan Police has been contacted for comment.

Ben is due his 66th surgery in a few weeks to remove the large flap of muscle on his neck.

But the Canadian has returned home at last after stunning doctors with the extent of his recovery.

Katherine said: "After 4 year, 3 months, 65 surgeries, and countless sleepless nights, on March 2nd Ben moved home.

"The journey is not over though. Ben will participate in outpatient therapy – physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy – for the next while, and will undergo another surgery to remove the large portion of excess muscle from his neck.

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"We've said a million times before but a process like this is impossible without the love and support of those around you.

"We are so honoured to finally share this news with you all, and while we still have a long way to go, this is a milestone that we have all waited so long to reach."

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