Just like he has done so often in the past years, Tilman Saile climbs on his bike on a morning in March 2002 on Majorca in order to ride some kilometers. But the planned several hours of base training under the warming spring sun are abruptly ended by his titanium stem breaking. Without warning, the athlete crashes to the ground and gets up with huge pain in the shoulder area.
In hospital, the doctor diagnoses a collarbone fracture; an operation was necessary immediately. Tilman Saile, a doctor himself, agrees with him, but informs him about his latex allergy. In the operating room, however, doctor Saile does not believe his eyes when the first thing, the surgeon does, is putting latex gloves on before picking up the knife. Vigorously, but without success at first, the Swabian doctor protests against the imminent disaster and in the end only wants to flee in order to protect his health. Leaving the hospital is hardly possible, however, as he is in medical custody and the hospital’s direction won’t let him leave. In the end, he leaves the hospital at his own risk after having signed all sorts of exemptions from liability. His first thought is flying back to Germany, but the phonecall with the airline is devastating: Injured persons were principally not accepted as passengers. Doctor Saile does not care. He goes to the airport, takes off all his bandages and puts the injured arm’s hand in his pocket in order to make it stable. Despite intense pain, he carries it off well at the check-in and gets on the plain back home.
Author: Dirk Zedler