BUFFALO, N.Y. – Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik has left the hospital and returned to Florida less than a week after he was slashed in the throat by a teammate's skate.
Zednik went home Friday after being released Thursday evening, officials at Buffalo General Hospital said. Zednik lost five pints of blood after he was accidentally sliced by the skate of teammate Olli Jokinen in a game against the Sabres.
The 32-year-old forward said he barely felt the skate slice into his carotid artery, but with blood gushing from his neck he knew he was in trouble. "I was like, Whoa. I knew I had to get to the bench."
He was quickly put in an ambulance, and Dr. Leslie Bisson put pressure on his neck to help slow the bleeding as the ambulance headed toward the hospital.
"I remember everything," Zednik told The Buffalo News. "I remember the doctor holding my neck and telling him, 'Don't push so hard. I can't breathe.' I talked to my trainer (Dave Zenobi). I remember them saying, 'OK, go to surgery."'
Dr. Sonya Noor repaired the artery that had been sliced open but not completely severed.
"One week happened so much. Everything just went so well," Zednik said. "You look at it like that, and I was lucky. They saved my life. After surgery, they were amazing."
Zednik was discharged from Buffalo General on Thursday evening, spent Valentine's Day night with his wife, Jessica, who had flown to Buffalo from Florida, and was anxious to get home to Florida on Friday.
Jessica Zednik had slept little last Saturday night after caring for their 4-year-old daughter, Ella, and spending all day Sunday with her in Delray Medical Center in South Florida. Ella, who had been battling a high fever, was well enough to go home later that evening.
Jessica Zednik had been home for 10 minutes when injured left wing Jozef Stumpel, a friend who didn't make the road trip with the Panthers, called about her husband's injury.
"Life is so fragile, and you don't own it," she told the newspaper. "You never know and take everything for granted. Not anymore, believe me. It's a reality check."