"Shark Attack" Newswriting Exercise
An 8-year-old boy was struggling to stay alive on Thursday, nearly a week after a shark bit off his arm, doctors said.
Jessie Arbogast of Ocean Springs, Miss., was in critical but stable condition at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital, but he may have lost too much blood after the attack. He has experienced kidney failure and may have brain damage, doctors said.
"He has done a little bit of spontaneous eye opening and blinking but is not coherent," said Dr. Rex Northrup, a pediatric trauma physician at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.
Arbogast has had six operations since the attack, Northrup said. Doctors said they hoped Arbogast would be able to use his reattached arm in 18 months.
"We're just praying now," Fiona Arbogast, Jessie Arbogast's mother, said.
Jessie Arbogast was vacationing with his parents and uncle in Pensacola, Fla. He was swimming in knee-deep surf when a 7-foot bull shark attacked him. His uncle, Trevor Wallace, wrestled the shark to shore, and a ranger shot the animal four times with a pistol, killing it.
The ranger opened the shark's mouth with a police baton and removed Arbogast's severed arm from the shark's gullet with a clamp. Arbogast was airlifted to the Baptists Hospital emergency room within 30 minutes of the attack.
At the hospital, Dr. Jack Tyson, with the assistance of plastic surgeon Ian Rogers, reattached Arbogast's arm. He was transferred to Sacred Heart Children's Hospital on Sunday.
Arbogast was swimming at the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Florida Panhandle when he was attacked. Florida was the site of 34 of the of the country's 51 total shark attacks in 2000, the International Shark Attack File in Gainesville, Fla., said.
Shark attacks are on the rise internationally. Worldwide, the organization recorded 79 shark attacks in 2001, the highest number since they began keeping records in 1958.
Copyright © 2002 Colleen Fischer | Last updated October 7, 2002