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Exclusive: MP Phil Donato hospitalised after boating accident; surgeon hopeful following operation


By Peter Holmes

State MP Phil Donato underwent surgery at Orange Hospital on Monday night following a boating accident.

Or, to be precise, a pre-boating accident.

When The Orange News Examiner called to ask the MP about pertinent electorate matters on Thursday, Donato said he'd "been better".

"Done myself a serious injury ... I've broken my foot. I had a bit of an accident on Monday."

Donato was hitching his boat trailer to his vehicle early on Easter Monday ahead of a day out with his youngest son when the accident occurred.

"I was going out to the dam ... and it basically slid off the hitch, wasn't coupled properly," Donato explained.

"I had the jockey wheel up so it didn't have that to take the weight, and it just went straight down - as single axle trailers do. Bang! About 150, 160 kilos of ball weight on my foot.

"I was wearing thongs."

Officially, at the time of impact, Donato said: "Far out!"

Unofficially it was a lot fruitier. "You can safely guess," he said with a laugh.

We asked our art department to fix us an image of what Phil Donato might have looked like in the seconds after impact. This is the best they could do. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Donato's son "saw the whole thing".

The MP was driven to Orange hospital by his wife.

"[I said] I've done some pretty serious damage to my foot."

Donato - who was in good spirits when he spoke to us - had fractured a toe, and a pin was inserted during surgery on Monday night.

"[I'm] pretty immobile for the next couple of weeks. I need to keep it elevated, stay off it, all the boring things. I'm very lucky, it could've been a lot worse."

Donato returned home on Tuesday afternoon.

"The main thing they're worried about is an infection," he said.

"They've put a pin it in and it was an open wound. [Trailers are] generally pretty dirty, it's been in the water, so it's not exactly a sterile surface."

He said the surgeon was "pretty happy with how it went. The tendons are attached and it was pretty much a clean break. As long as there's no infection it should heal fairly well".

NSW Parliament is due to sit again on May 10.

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