Prague can still be dangerous

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My brother arrived on Thursday, April 2nd and we left for Prague on Friday morning. The weather was great, we met some great people on the train ride to Prague and we had a great meal at one of my favorite restaurants upon arrival in the city. We then checked in to our apartment on Wenceslas Square, which was very nice, and left to join some people we met on the train. I was playing tour guide and showed them a few bars, the sex museum, old town and then the Charles Bridge. They were tired from previous travel and left to go back to their hotel. My brother and I then proceeded to a bar just south of Wenceslas near the main shopping street of Na Pilkope. The bar was very busy, but we found refuge with two Scottish guys and ended up having a great time with them. (I have pictures)

 

One thing my brother and I did not know was that the US President Barack Obama would be in town that weekend. No warnings were issued from the US State Department for visiting Prague which I find kind of funny since the city is fairly sketchy on any given day.

 

As the night wore on, the bar emptied a bit (10:00PM) and our newly-found Scottish friends decided to leave for their hotel. About 30 minutes later, my bro and I found this to be a good idea and decided to leave the bar too. This is where things get sketchy.

 

We left the bar – no doubt about that (I have pictures and know they are from when we left)

 

We walked up Na Mustku street and came to the crossing with Na Pilkope.

 

I think this is where it happened but I’m not sure.

 

I never saw anything coming. My brother and I were chatting, maybe separated by 15 feet (he was smoking, I can’t stand ciggys, hence the separation). I just remember blackness and thinking ‘my jaw is broken’. I don’t think I went to the ground, but I could have. The next thing I remember was stumbling around, on my feet and seeing my little bro gushing blood from his face. I immediately knelt down and tried to pick him up. I was woozy as hell but was successful in bringing him in to consciousness. Six to eight people ran up to me asking me if we needed any help. I asked one very nice couple to call an ambulance as I was very worried about my brother. They wanted me to sit down as it was obvious that my jaw was shattered on my left side and badly fractured on my left. I told them to take care of my brother first. They asked me if I wanted them to call the police and I just laughed (best I could at least) and said, ‘We’re in the Czech – the Police probably did this to us’. Apparently, a few people scared off the attackers as I had luckily stumbled in to a well-lit area after the initial hit to my head. So I’m told. Again, I’m black on this and was really wondering how I still had my camera and wallet after taking such a pounding.

 

The ambulance arrived in about 15 minutes and my brother and I were taken to the main hospital in Prague. The hospital was horrible! My brother and I were immediately separated and I did not know his whereabouts or condition until 3pm the next day.

 

I’m going to bullet the rest of this for now. I’m tired and it’s getting late.

 

I was stuck in a ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoos’ Nest’ room with two other Czech guys from 1130pm until 1pm the next day.

 

One of the guys spoke German. None of the ‘doctors’ spoke German or English so I communicated with the staff through this 75 year old guy. I wish I’d got his name. Nice guy and truly concerned about me.

 

I was given no pain medicine while I was there. I had x-rays taken and that was it. My jaw was literally flapping up and down. My mandible was broken in half on my right side and should have been set immediately. Nothing was done for it. Nobody could tell me where my brother was.

 

I was given no food and only a NaCl IV for nourishment.

 

At 1pm the next day, I asked the doctor if I could leave. He said no and I left anyway. I walked the 3kms back to my apartment and was so thankful to find my brother there. I called my girlfriend in Germany and told her what happened. She drove over and got us.

 

I had my girlfriend take us to the Klinik in Regensburg. Again, my brother went one way and I went another. I had my jaw set that night, approximately 24 hours after having it broken. Most painful thing I’ve ever had done and I’ve had some pretty serious injuries.

 

The nurses at the Regensburg Klinik are horrible. Worst hospital stay of my life. Fucking horrible. German hospitals are horrible. Socialized medicine in this country for things worse than a sniffle is fucking horrible. My German friends that came and visited me in the hospital were ashamed of how I was being treated. (At least he didn’t see the Prague hospital which was fucking haggardly horrible and not worth mentioning since the Czech Republic barely counts as a country anymore).

 

All in all – my brother is back in Seattle and his badly broken nose is healing. My jaw is wired shut and will be for at least another 5 weeks. I have 9 screws and 5 plates in my face now. I need a note to fly on planes now too. That should be fun! The bruises from the bat/baton/whatever are going away too. I had a nice bruise line running up my left side across my chest to my face. My right side had a great line across the chest too. (I, of course, have pictures of this too).

 

Good news – I’ve lost 15 pounds in the past week (liquid diet). My knee, which I once again tweaked skiing in an avalanche 3 weeks ago, is healing, and I’ve finally been back to the dentist after a three year hiatus.

 

Oh, I forgot to mention – my birthday was April 5th. The day I had surgery. Last year I skied 3 foot deep powder in Austria, this year I get beat because I’m American. Yin/Yang I guess.

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I'm sorry to hear what happened to you and I wish you and your brother a speedy recovery. It must have been a shocking experience for you and obviously there can be no excuse for such a gratuitous and vicious attack. I just don't understand why you think the police were to blame, especially since you say in your post that passers-by scared off the attackers (I presume they wouldn't have dared to interfere against men in police uniform), but I guess it doesn't really matter, the consequences for you and your brother are the same. All the best, and may your next birthday, unlike this year's, be a memorable one for all the right reasons!

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I was joking about the police. Sorry it wasn't more clear. I'm still having trouble typing (left armed messed up).

 

Last year a cop killed an American while he was sleeping in his car. The cop was drunk. The cops we met that night just laughed at us. It was...disconcerting.

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What a horrible story. So this happened in a centric, not deserted street? And do you think the attackers intended to rob you? I wouldn't have thought that Prague is that unsafe. Only heard about taxi fare and money exchange scam.

 

Speedy recovery!

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I was joking about the police.

I get it. Kudos for not losing your sense of humour.

 

Btw, on the subject of German hospitals, you are not alone... the ones it has been my misfortune to experience were just as you described. :ph34r:

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What a horrible story. So this happened in a centric, not deserted street? And do you think the attackers intended to rob you? I wouldn't have thought that Prague is that unsafe. Only heard about taxi fare and money exchange scam.

 

Speedy recovery!

Thank you. It was a centric area. I just think whoever did this thought they could get us down before we hit the main area under the lights??? At the time I weighed 110 kilos and my little brother was in great shape doing some 'paleo' diet thing and crazy donkey kong workout and was ripped. We got taken by surprise from the back and never saw it coming. I seriously think most people would have gone straight down but we were able to stumble and bumble a bit. My bro went down fairly quick but I was able to get out in to a more public area (and took a way worse beating because of it). Someone saw what was happening and scared off the thugs. By the way, the strap on my camera bag was ripped but somehow I held on to it.

 

I really am putting this all together from forensic evidence (my own), what I was told and from my dreams which have been wickedly vivid. I think my bro and I probably should be dead. I'll post the xrays when I get them. The doc is making me copies per my request today. I want to be a little kid when I look at them and say 'fooooooking cooool!!!' but then I realize that it is my face.

 

Anyway...it's not stopping me from traveling. My middle name has been bad luck since 7th grade and I'm still here :D

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That's horrible. Are you sure it wasn't just some random thing/ attempted robbery (as opposed to being because you're American)? Or do you think this was done by guys who were also in the bar? Hmm... so maybe Prague isn't as high on my list now as it used to be. I can't believe they didn't set your jaw or give you pain meds in Prague. Jezuz. I wish you a speedy recovery, and I hope the German doc did a good job setting your jaw!

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I hope you completely recover really soon and that you are psychologically able to move on and put this behind you. What a horrible way to end a nice trip. I also once posted about my own bad experience in the Czech Republic and that I am never going back there. The Czech people are great, I can't find anything bad to say about them. In my case the perpertrators were border police. When I described my own experience about this here on TT, I was indirectly called a liar and attacked for daring to say anything negative about the Czech republic. There were two American girls on the same train, the one was robbed of her passport as well. It is perhaps not very intelligent to speak English when visiting this country, unless you are travelling in a large group giving you enough protection. I travelled on my own and am female. One draws attention to oneself and propably appears rich or something (i.e. worth attacking). Hopefully you are not going to get flamed as well for telling your story. There are many other countries one can visit.

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If this incident happened around Winceslas Square (specially between the Square and the Bahnhof), there's probably nothing to do with you, being American. Its a well known area for that kinda incidents and the police aint so efficient, there.

 

When I was there, I was approached by a couple of guys (who look like they belong to some Mafia group)...and I was wondering what they wanna do with me, in a crowded place. I thought, maybe they wanna give me a punch and run away, but surprisingly, the main guy kissed my forehead and pushed-off. I thought "Well, nothing happened...So, why should I try to be a Hero?" :P

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It's shitty that this happened to you and your brother but the point of your story is what? Prague is as/more dangerous than a major US city? The public health system in the Czech Republic is still Eastern block standard? German service mentality isn't what it could be? You just needed to let off steam?

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I wish you a speedy recovery. My brother was also attacked in Prague several years ago. He was walking by the train station in the middle of the day and never knew what happened until he woke up in hospital the next day. From his injuries, it looked like somebody snuck up behind him and got him in a choke hold while punching his lights out, then dropped him to the ground and got his money and camera. His experience with the hospital was ok. He said the doctor spoke a little German and he played a little chess with his roomies but at least he was lucky enough not to have to rely on them really doing anything medical. He got away with a couple of cuts on his face and a black eye.

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That's horrible, hope you feel better soon. My fiance is going to Prague in the summer for his stag weekend, and now i'm worried. I might try to convince him to go somewhere else.

 

What a horrible thing to happen though, especially on your brother's birthday, poor guy will probably never come back to europe :unsure:

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Wenceslas Square is renowned for its drug dealers, hookers, scam artists and muggers, and any good guidebook should have warned you about this. The political overtones in your diatribe removed any sympathy I may otherwise have felt.

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Last year a cop killed an American while he was sleeping in his car. The cop was drunk. The cops we met that night just laughed at us. It was...disconcerting.

Yeah from my buddys stories from living there for a couple years, the cops there are pretty much there to extort money from you.

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Shitty that this happened but it is a reminder that no matter where you are you have to be aware. pretty shity, hope both your brother and yourself recover and can put this behind you.

 

If you feel the social health system here is bad, just go private.

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I also once posted about my own bad experience in the Czech Republic and that I am never going back there. The Czech people are great, I can't find anything bad to say about them. In my case the perpertrators were border police. When I described my own experience about this here on TT, I was indirectly called a liar and attacked for daring to say anything negative about the Czech republic.

I figured I would take some flak for posting my story too. There are a lot of very opinionated people on TT so I somewhat expected it. This board is different from many others I visit, but I still enjoy reading it and have learned to take everything with a grain of salt. There are some great people on here but there are also some jackasses mixed in the bunch. Some people just get off on interjecting strong opinions on every single topic. Kinda sad actually. Thank you for the support. These kinds of experiences are 'Major Bummers', but you get over them and move on. I probably will return to Prague someday but will just be much, much more aware. And I'll be a blackbelt in Karate by then ;)

 

 

That's horrible, hope you feel better soon. My fiance is going to Prague in the summer for his stag weekend, and now i'm worried. I might try to convince him to go somewhere else.

 

What a horrible thing to happen though, especially on your brother's birthday, poor guy will probably never come back to europe

Prague overall is not a horrible place. I love the city. You just really have to be aware and I guess I wasn't aware enough. I would be a little worried about getting totally drunk over there and wandering around, though. I think that's when things can get really dangerous. If the party is contained, then it should be fine. I just wouldn't go out smashed late at night there.

 

It was actually my birthday that I had surgery on. No cake for me this year! ;) My brother and I are pretty resilient. He'll be back next year but I think we'll stick to the Alps and just do some skiing.

 

 

Wenceslas Square is renowned for its drug dealers, hookers, scam artists and muggers, and any good guidebook should have warned you about this. The political overtones in your diatribe removed any sympathy I may otherwise have felt.

This was my 5th trip to Prague. I'm not an expert on the place by any means but know it well enough. Thanks for your concern

:blink:

 

 

Nasty experience, but it could have been worse, you could have gone to a hospital in America!

LOL. I know, I know. I've had good and bad experiences at hospitals in the US too. I was a bit unfair in my writing and realize that. Still, the German hospital exerpience, in my opinion, ain't all that great. Good docs, not so good support from other staffers.

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I re-wrote the initial diatribe. It's still long but hopefully a little more concise and easier to understand. I tried not to make this one so emotional. I had to write this up for a few reasons and didn't do it just for TT. I've had many, many people asking me about what happened and writing the incident up this way and posting it to my blog was the easiest way I could think of the share the information. I also needed to do it for my own good and to get what I could straight in my head. I need to give a statement to the MPs on the post I work on and wanted to make sure I had the details down. Anyway, thank you to those who have wished my brother and I well. It's appreciated!

 

-------------------------------

Pre-Prague

 

My little brother was traveling from Seattle, Washington to visit me for a week and a half in Germany, The Czech Republic and Austria. This would be his second trip to Europe to visit and he was really excited about the Prague portion of the trip since we had missed it during his previous visit.

 

We left for Prague the day after my brother landed early on a Friday morning. The train ride over was fairly uneventful if not actually fun. We met some great people on the train and had a good time chatting and visiting with them.

 

Prague – playing tour guide

 

Upon arrival at the Prague train station, I noticed small group of Americans that seemed a bit lost. This was my 5th trip to the city so I figured I would wander over and ask them if they needed any help. They were simply looking for an ATM in the train station. It was convenient since my brother and I were also in need of one. I proceeded to take us all over to the location of the only ATM I knew of in the station.

 

Since it was a bit early to check in to our hotels, I asked the group if they wanted to come to a restaurant with us, one of my favorite places to eat in Europe. They agreed and we walked the 10 minutes there and had a great late lunch. We then left for our respective hotels and agreed to meet up that night at 7pm and I would show them some of the more major sites in the Old Town and Charles Bridge areas. We had a fun time with them but they ended up turning in for the night fairly early as they were tired from previous travels.

 

Prague – the incident

 

After playing tour guide was over, I took my brother to a bar that was in the area that I knew of. The place was pretty busy but we were lucky enough to find a place to stand/sit with a couple of guys from Scotland. We ended up having a really good time with them. They were friendly and accommodating blokes with good outlooks on life. After hanging out with them for a couple of hours, they too decided it was time to head back to their hotel for some sleep. My brother and I ended up staying at the bar for approximately another 15-30 minutes but then decided to call it a night too. The next day was going to be a busy one and we didn’t want to be out to late that night.

 

This is where things get sketchy and the details are a bit hazy. I remember leaving the bar and walking for approximately 2 to 3 minutes towards our hotel. We were walking up Na Mustku street where the bar was located and came to the crossing with Na Pilkope street which is one of the main shopping areas in that district. Our hotel was located in Wenceslas Square and we were maybe 10 minutes from being there. The next thing I remember is blackness and thinking ‘my jaw is broken’. I’m not certain if I went to the ground or not or if I even blacked out. I never felt any other hits besides the initial one, however. The next thing I remember is seeing my brother lying on the ground, blood gushing from his face. I didn’t know if he was dead, alive, unconscious or what. I knelt down to check on him and was able to wake him up. Once I knew he was relatively okay, I realized just how bad my face was. My jaw was definitely shattered in one place and broken in half in another. I could feel it flapping up and down.

 

I have no idea what motivated the attack or why we were targets. I do know that the President of the United States was in town that weekend for some G20 Summit stuff but I have no idea if the attack was in any way related to this. I don’t know if we were the targets of a robbery or if the attack was some kind of thrill for a few eggheads who enjoy sneaking up behind people and beating them senseless. I have no idea. I do know that it could have been a lot worse, though. I think what semi-saved us is that I was able to stumble in to a highly-lit area where foot traffic was more prevalent. Upon my yelling for my brother, 6-8 people ran to our aide and one very nice couple was able to call an ambulance. I wish I had gotten their names to thank them later. The cops did come over before the ambulance arrived but they basically just laughed at us and wouldn’t offer any help. I’m not being bitter here – it is the truth. The police in Prague are not known to like foreigners that much and there are plenty of recorded incidents of them being anything but friendly.

 

Prague – the hospital and heading back to Germany

 

After the ambulance came, we were rushed to the main hospital in the downtown area of Prague. My brother and I were kept together for approximately 10 minutes once arriving at the hospital and then he was ushered away and I didn’t see him again until the next day.

 

After collecting my insurance information, I was taken to a room - a horrible, dimly-lit, moldy-smelling, dirty little thing and told to lie down on the only empty bed available. There were already two older men in the room and they both gave me no regard as it was pretty late at this point. I was hooked up to an IV with a sodium solution but was given no pain meds at all. Later, I was taken to get my jaw x-rayed and then taken back to the room. I inquired about my brother several times but nobody seemed to know where he was or how he was doing.

 

None of the doctors or nurses I dealt with spoke German or English, but thankfully one of my roommates did speak some Germany. I had to communicate through him to find anything out. Again, I wish I’d gotten his contact information as he was very friendly and seemed very concerned about me. At about 2pm the next day I asked if I could leave the hospital and the doctor told me no. I left anyway. I was super worried about my brother, was concerned about the lack of care I was receiving as it was obvious I was in bad shape and really needed to get back to the hotel and call my girlfriend to let her know what happened. So, I left. I walked from the hospital until I found a free cab and was then dropped off at my hotel. Thankfully, my brother was there and he looked BAD. I immediately called my girlfriend and tried not to worry her too much. She immediately left Germany to come and get us. While waiting, my brother and I tried to rest a bit, but this was near impossible after the previous night’s events.

 

Back to Germany

 

I had my girlfriend take my brother and I directly to the University Clinic in Regensburg. It took some time, but we both were eventually seen. My brother was released and I was checked in to the hospital and had surgery scheduled for the next day (my birthday). That night, I experienced one of the most painful episodes of my life – having my jaw set. It should have been set in Prague the night before but they never bothered to do this. The doctors in Regensburg were fairly concerned about this but were able to get it set. This Hurt So Bad. The only pain medication I was given were local shots of Novocain which really did nothing for the pain. After this, I spent a very sleepless night in the hospital.

 

My experience with the hospital in Regensburg was not that great. I won’t elaborate here, but I will say patient care doesn’t seem to be a main priority. The doctors were great, but the support staff didn’t seem to care and were just there for a job and to collect a check. It was a bit disconcerting, but still much better than the hospital in Prague!

 

Update

 

My brother made it back to Seattle safe and sound and his badly broken nose is healing nicely. My jaw, although still sore, is healing well to. The surgeons did a great job on it. The wires come off and the rubber bands go on next Monday. Only 4-5 more weeks of liquid food bliss! My left arm and hand are slowly getting better. I have good days and bad days with them. It will just take some time. Today is obviously a good day since I am typing.

 

I’d like to thank my girlfriend Dawn for taking such good care of my brother and I. I hope she knows how much it meant to the both of us.

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Just curious, but is there an American consulate in Prague? I wonder if it there would have been some benefit to contacting them from the hospital. Perhaps they would have helped out?

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Not just a consulate, the U.S. Embassy is there (since Prague is the capital).

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