Shark bites man near earlier attack
© St. Petersburg Times,
PENSACOLA -- A shark bit a 48-year-old surfer Sunday about six miles from where another shark nearly killed an 8-year-old boy this month.
The surfer, whose name was not immediately released, was surfing Sunday afternoon off Santa Rosa Island when the shark bit him on the leg, causing puncture wounds. He said he had noticed small fish and a large shadow below him but didn't think anything was wrong until he was bitten.
He was in good condition at a local hospital.
Meanwhile, doctors treating 8-year-old Jessie Arbogast say his brain may not have been damaged from blood loss after the attack.
Jessie sometimes appears to understand what's going on around him, according to the medical team that reattached his arm after a 200-pound bull shark attacked him, also taking a large bite out of his thigh.
"We're proceeding with the lovely words of cautious optimism. Every day, we seem to progress a little bit further," said Dr. Ian Rogers, the boy's chief surgeon, in an interview Sunday morning on NBC's Today show.
Dr. Juliet DeCampos said the boy from Ocean Springs, Miss., appears to be responding to family and doctors after days of being in what was described as a light coma.
"The doctors at the pediatric ICU have been saying that he's been moving to command," she said. "But yesterday was the first timethat one of the family members told us that he squeezed his hand in response to being asked, so that was very good news."
Jessie's recovery has been helped by the boy's relatives, DeCampos said.
"We're having the family do the range of motion exercises," she said. "I've tried to teach all of them individually that they can touch Jessie's hand, and talk to him about that, so that he realizes his arm is there."
On July 6, Jessie was attacked at the Gulf Islands National Seashore as he played in knee-deep water at dusk. He lost nearly all his blood, which damaged his organs.
While he was still listed in critical condition Sunday at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital, a report on the hospital's Web site indicated he might be clear of brain damage.
"Brain swelling or the ongoing risk of neurological death is no longer a concern," the update said. "Jessie's neurologist, Dr. Ben Renfroe, has been monitoring Jessie's EEG (brain activity) and reported no evidence of brain trauma. The MRI shows no structural damage at this point, but it is still too early to make any predictions."
Jessie's favorite candy bar may have brought more progress in communicating. DeCampos said the boy's grandfather told her Jessie "would do anything for a Snickers bar."
"So I gave that a shot," the doctor said.
"I brought in a Snickers bar and I saw Jessie's eyes were open and so I dangled it before him, and his eyes fixed on that Snickers bar and sort of followed it around, and he almost seemed to try and form a word like "Give me that Snickers bar,' " DeCampos said.
"But he didn't actually say that, I'm sorry."
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times state desk
From the state wire