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Pensacola Beach volunteer firefighters Tony Thomas, left, and Todd LeRoy remove a dead shark responsible for the attack on an eight-year-old boy Friday near Pensacola Beach, Fla.
Associated Press Photo

Boy attacked by shark recovering

Associated Press

    PENSACOLA, Fla. - An eight-year-old boy recovering from a shark attack is no longer in a deep coma and is responding to stimulation, doctors said Friday.
    Jessie Arbogast is making slow progress after his right arm was reattached following his attack by a bull shark a week ago. Doctors on Friday planned to try to slowly take him off a device used to help with his breathing.
    "Jessie, neurologically, is our main focus right now. He is no longer in a deep coma," said Dr. Rob Patterson. He said the boy doesn't respond to light stimulation but "he is certainly responding to pain and deep stimulation, and we have every reason to be encouraged."
    The Ocean Springs, Miss., boy was attacked at the Gulf Islands National Seashore last Friday, losing his right arm and sustaining a deep wound to his leg. He lost nearly all his blood, which damaged other organs.
   His uncle and a beachgoer hauled the two-metre shark ashore and a park ranger fired four bullets into the head of the bull shark and retrieved the arm from the shark's gullet.
    Doctors said the family has received flowers, letters and e-mails from people all over the world and remained focused on the health of their child.
    "They have such a great sense of faith. Their faith is pulling them through," said Sister Jean Rhoads of "Sacred Heart Children's Hospital. "They have a great sense of peace in their hearts. Their total focus remains on their son."

Young shark victim may have brain damage

Associated Press
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25,2001

    PENSACOLA, Fla. - An eight-year-old boy attacked by a shark over the weekend suffered harm to virtually every organ because of massive blood loss and may have brain damage, a doctor said yesterday.
   Jessie Arbogast's arm - reattached after it was pried out of the shark's mouth and delivered to surgeons - was healing well. But the boy remained in critical condition yesterday after at least six surgeries to repair damage done in Friday night's attack.
   Dr. Rex Northup said the boy arrived at the hospital with no blood pressure, no pulse and damage to "literally his entire body."
    "Because of the shark injuries and loss of blood associated with that, his brain did go through a period of time with a very low amount of blood flow," Dr. Northup said. "If we can get another several days behind us where things don't deteriorate, we'll be happy with that.
    Jessie, who has been undergoing dialysis at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital since he went into kidney failure Sunday, has not been able to talk with family members.
    "He has done a little bit of a spontaneous eye opening and blinking of his eyes, but at this point is not coherent," Dr. Northup said.
    The Ocean Springs, Miss., boy was attacked in the surf at the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Florida Panhandle.
    His uncle, Vance Flosenzier of Mobile, Ala., wrestled the two-metre bull shark to shore with help of another beachgoer, said Megan MacPherson, a spokeswoman for Mr. Flosenzier. She said Mr. Flosenzier did not want to release any information about himself and he did not know who helped him.
    A ranger shot the shark four times with a pistol, and pried its jaw open with a police baton. A volunteer firefighter used a clamp to pull the boy's severed arm out of the shark's gullet.
   The boy was air lifted to Baptist Hospital about 30 minutes after the attack and the arm was reattached.
   Circulation in the arm and in the boy's gashed leg was good, doctors-said, but he will probably be unable to use the arm for up to 18 months.
    According to the International Shark Attack File in Gainesville, 34 of the country's 51 reported shark attacks last year were in Florida. One of the attacks was fatal: A 69-year-old man was killed by a bull shark near his St. Petersburg home last August.
   There were 79 shark attacks worldwide last year, including 10 that were fatal. File officials said it is the highest number since the organization began keeping records in 1958.

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