It’s been two weeks since Peggy Hesch found her brother lying in the hallway of his apartment bleeding and confused.
“When I found him I thought he had fallen or something like that,” Hesch said. “But when he took his hands off his face blood was everywhere. I was just panicked.”
Hesch later learned that her brother, David Contat, 52, of Columbus, had not fallen. He’d been attacked and beaten so severely that he suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs and an approximate 12-inch head laceration. Contat is now clinging to life at The Medical Center where he’s listed in critical condition, Hesch said.
“They don’t know whether he’s going to make it or not,” she said, her voice cracking.
A police report said Contat had been on a three-day drinking binge when he was attacked outside his Ashley Station apartment around Jan. 12. That’s what Contat had told a nurse when he was first admitted to the hospital for treatment. The nurse then relayed the few details Contat could provide about the incident to a responding officer, but Hesch said she’s certain her brother hadn’t been drinking.
She attributes his remarks about being on a binge to a head injury and extensive lung damage, both of which he sustained in the beating. Hesch said doctors explained to her that her brother’s inability to breath properly in the hours following his attack had probably deprived his brain of sufficient oxygen, which caused a series of auditory and visual hallucinations.
“I have been so stressed about this. I just want it noted that this just wasn’t some drunk out there on the street,” Hesch said. “It was a brave man that fought for his country for 27 years as a firefighter and a paramedic, saved a lot of lives.”
Please read tomorrow's Ledger-Enquirer for more on this story.