I don't know if this has been posted before. Sorry if it has!
Millimetres from death
By Carole Aye Maung & Rav Singh
SCREEN superstar Leonardo DiCaprio was last night counting himself lucky to be alive.
Nursing a terrifying slash wound to the face that needed 12 emergency stitches, the movie actor recalled how just 24 hours earlier he stared death in the face.
As he left a Hollywood party at around 4am on Friday, a maniac woman gatecrasher lunged at his head with a beer bottle.
The broken glass tore into his famous features and his attacker came just millimeteres from severing vital arteries and landing a murder charge.
The horrifying drama exploded at a bash thrown by Rick Salomon —hotel heiress Paris Hilton's infamous sex video lover—at his home in the hills.
DiCaprio, whose boyish good looks have proved his fortune, had been partying with a small group of pals.
As the terrified star clutched desperately at the wound close to his ear, his actor pal Jonah Blechman and other guests dashed to his aid and restrained the woman.
Jonah later told a pal: "Leo's been attacked. She smashed his face in and we rushed to help."
Worried friends raced the stricken star of Titanic and The Aviator to hospital where medics went to work in earnest.
Last night an experienced doctor said that DiCaprio probably escaped death by a whisker.
GP Victor Storey, from Havering, Essex, said: "It sounds like Leonardo's a very lucky man indeed. If the bottle had severed the main artery in the side of the neck —the carotid artery—he'd have been dead in seconds.
"It's almost impossible to staunch an injury like that. And just beside it is the jugular vein. If that gets cut you have to have immediate treatment otherwise you'll just black out and die within minutes from loss of blood.
"Twelve stitches could well cover up to 2 inches of Leonardo's face and shows that he must have been hit with some force. A bit lower and who knows what could have happened."
He was backed up by Dr Gerard Eichner from Knightsbridge, London, a casualty department veteran.
"You have a lot of very important structures in the neck area, so any injury or damage near there is very serious," he said.
"Just being hit over the head with a bottle can cause a number of problems itself—trauma or bruising to the brain. But when you have injury to the neck, that is when things get very serious. Apart from the carotid artery and jugular vein there are a couple of nerves that go through there. If they are injured it's very, very dangerous. There's a big chance of permanent damage and people bleed to death very easily. We're not only talking about death.
"This can also cause strokes because the flow of blood to the brain would be completely cut off.
"Even if you save somebody with one of these injuries they might have permanent long-term damage. Any cut near that area is a worrying thing. It sounds like Leonardo was extremely lucky."
The Oscar-nominated actor's publicist Ken Sunshine said: "Leo was attacked by a woman who was trespassing and had been repeatedly asked to leave the property.
"She was reportedly looking for an ex-boyfriend, who she'd apparently physically assaulted on prior occasions.
"Law enforcement authorities have now begun a criminal investigation into the matter."
It is not certain if 30-year-old DiCaprio's current love, Brazilian beauty Gisele Bundchen, was on the scene and saw the horror. But last night she was helping her man recover.
Yesterday, as cops began quizzing witnesses and party guests, no criminal charges had been brought against the woman, in her twenties.
A close friend of Leo's told the News of the World last night: "He's obviously still very shocked over what happened to him.
"One minute he was enjoying the party and the next he was hit in the head. We can't believe what's happened.
"He's recovering but he's still in pain."
It is not yet known how the incident will affect DiCaprio's immediate plans.
He was due to fly into the UK next Saturday to attend a private party at London's Kabaret Club.
Nevertheless Leonardo—who is in Los Angeles on a break from shooting another Martin Scorsese-directed movie, The Departed — is expected to continue filming in the next few weeks, say insiders.
Ironically, Leonardo has earned his own reputation as a brawler in the past. In March 1998, he was sporting a mystery black eye after an incident outside New York hotel Morgan's involving three of his pals and screenwriter Roger Wilson.
Wilson later claimed Leonardo, who had been drinking with mates in the hotel's Asia De Cuba restaurant, had tried to hit on his girlfriend, Showgirls star Elizabeth Berkley.
Wilson said when he confronted the actor, Leonardo "turned to his posse" and ordered them to attack.
The hotel's chief of security Kevin Francis also told detectives that he allegedly heard DiCaprio tell his pal, "Let's go kick his ass" minutes before the fight.
Wilson launched a £30million lawsuit against the actor, claiming his career as a singer ended when he was hit in the throat. But a judge dismissed it.
The year after Leo was involved in another punch-up in London after being mobbed at the launch of pop duo Eternal's album at the Chinawhite club.
Once again his mates waded in to save him and a bouncer had to stop the fracas.