Boy may have brain damage from shark attack

By Bill Kaczor

Associated Press

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The reattached arm of an 8-year-old boy attacked by a shark is healing well but he may have suffered brain damage because he lost so much blood, a doctor said today.

“Our hope is we don’t see deteriorating or worsening,” said Dr. Rex Northup at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital. “If we can get another several days behind us where things don’t deteriorate, we’ll be happy with that.”

Jessie Arbogast, who has been undergoing dialysis since he went into kidney failure Sunday, was in critical but stable condition today. He has had six surgeries since Friday’s attack.

“He has done a little bit of a spontaneous eye opening and blinking of his eyes, but at this point is not coherent,” Northup said.

Northup said circulation in the reattached arm and a severely gashed leg was good, but the boy likely wouldn’t be able to use the arm for up to 18 months.

The Ocean Springs, Miss., boy was attacked Friday evening in the surf at the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Florida Panhandle.

His uncle, Vance Flosensier, of Mobile, Ala., wrestled the 7-foot-long bull shark to shore.

“He’s a big guy. He got hold of it and tossed it ashore,” District Ranger Supervisor John Bandurski said.

Ranger Jared Klein shot the shark four times with a 9 mm pistol, and pried its jaw open with a police baton. Volunteer firefighter Tony Thomas used a clamp to pull the boy’s severed arm out of the shark’s gullet.

The boy had no pulse and no blood pressure when he was airlifted to Baptist Hospital about 30 minutes after the attack, said Dr. Jack Tyson, a surgeon.

“He had essentially lost all of his blood,” Tyson said. He was transferred to Sacred Heart because Baptist Hospital, where surgeons reattached his arm, is not equipped to treat kidney failure.

Ian Rogers, the plastic surgeon who helped reattach the arm, has said he was hopeful the boy could regain near normal use his arm with extensive therapy.

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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