Freelance photojournalist Guy Martin, who was severely injured yesterday in the mortar attacks in Libya that killed photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery for eight hours yesterday.
“The surgery went well, he’s recuperating, but doctors are predicting it will be 72 hours” before he can be transported out of Libya by boat for further medical care, says Josh Lustig, assignments editor at Panos Pictures. Lustig explains that the region is considered too dangerous to send in a medevac helicopter, so Martin cannot be moved sooner.
He suffered extensive injuries to his legs and abdomen when he was hit by shrapnel from the mortar attacks. A statement issued today by his mother, Karen Martin, and his partner, Polly Fields, described his condition as “stable [but] very critical.”
Martin has been in Libya for about a month, and was working without an assignment yesterday when he was injured, says Lustig, a friend of Martin’s. Panos has been representing Martin on an informal basis in recent months. Panos also represented Hetherington.
Lustig says he notified Human Rights Watch and the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) of Martin’s need for assistance yesterday when both those organizations stepped in to arrange transport of Hetherington’s remains out of Libya.
Reuters, Getty, and The Wall Street Journal also offered assistance, Lustig says.
“Human Rights Watch, the FCO and many media colleagues and medical staff on the ground in Misrata are helping us in getting Guy out of Libya as soon as possible to receive the medical help he needs. However, his current condition has so far prevented his evacuation,” Martin’s mother and partner said in their statement.
“We want to thank everyone for their support, especially the medical team in Misrata that has done an incredible job. Guy is a loving son, brother and partner and our main focus right now is just to get him home safely.”
Lustig notes that support for freelance photographers who get injured in hot spots while they are between assignments are mostly at the mercy of friends and acquaintances for help. “We as an agency don’t have insurance policies for our freelancers. We offer what support we can, and we’ll offer as much support as we can when he gets back. Thankfully these situations arise rarely, but it’s really up to the freelancer to make sure they have their medical insurance in place.”
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