By Rory Reynolds
A SKATER who was nearly blinded after falling face-first onto an ice rink has told how beleaguered justice secretary Kenny MacAskill saved his sight.
James Scoular tripped while skating in Edinburgh and smashed his cheekbone and forearm.
But the 40-year-old – who says he has a phobia of hospitals – went home instead, not realising that a splinter in his face could blind him at any time.
It was not until a chance meeting with MacAskill that he was talked into facing his fear and going to hospital.
James said: “I was unconscious for about 45 seconds.“There was help all around me but I wouldn’t go to hospital.”
But he was talked into visiting a doctor when MacAskill was a special guest at the opening of a community photography exhibition in Craigmillar, on the outskirts of the city.
James said: “He kept saying to me I’d better go to the hospital because my eye was pure red.
“I didn’t want to go because I don’t like hospitals.
“And I didn’t want to sit there all that time, but he said “you won’t be,” and he was right – I was waiting half an hour.
“He kept coming over all night and he got other people to come over and see me and say, “go to the hospital.”
“I took my mum to the opening and she said “take his advice and go.””
Doctors found that James could have been blinded if the splinter had pressed against his eye.
They also discovered that what he thought was just a sore arm was actually a fracture.
James said he owed his sight to MacAskill for insisting that he go to the hospital.
He said: “They said if I didn’t go I could have been blind in my right eye because I splintered my right cheekbone and it was scratching my eye.
“The doctors pushed the splinter down away from my eye to stop it scratching.
“And if I hadn’t gone I wouldn’t had known about my hand.
“I’d like to give him my thanks – he was looking out for me.”
A spokesman for the justice secretary confirmed that he had urged him to go to hospital, adding: “Mr MacAskill is pleased to hear that Mr Scoular is on the mend.”