Teen Shark Attack Survivor Faces Amputation Complications

Teen Shark Attack Survivor Faces Amputation Complications

Addison Bethea, the 17-year-old high school cheerleader from Perry, Florida, who had her leg amputated after being attacked by a shark, now faces the complications that come with losing a limb.

On June 30, Bethea was wading through the waters off Keaton Beach near her home when she was attacked by a 9-foot-long shark, which only let go of her leg after her brother pulled it out of the water. She was rushed to the Bixler Trauma & Emergency Center at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital for treatment.

The damage to the nerves and blood vessels in her right leg was too much to save her entire limb. As a result, on July 6, she was admitted to have her leg surgically amputated just above the right knee.

According to her family’s Facebook page, the surgery was successful and Bethea is now recovering.

“Addison is no longer in surgery,” the family said in a post. “The doctors were able to perform an above-the-knee amputation and it went very well. Saving the tissue in the lower leg was paramount to making this possible. Dr. DeRosier, Dr. Hutchinson and the medical staff can’t get enough of praise from us for the wonderful care of our little girl today.”

The day after her amputation, Bethea managed to take a few steps down the hospital hallway. However, by July 9, she was struggling.

“It wasn’t a very good night for Addison,” the family said in an update. She “had extreme pain in her leg and was complaining that the bandage felt too tight. She had a slight fever and her white blood cell count was slightly elevated. So this morning they did a CT scan to see if she had any fluid buildup that she couldn’t drain properly.

She had developed a hematoma and she was taken to surgery this morning to have it evaluated and drained. They are going to leave that part of the wound open so that it continues to drain with the intention of operating again (on July 12) to close it if everything looks good.

A hematoma is when blood collects outside the blood vessel, often as a result of traumatic injury or surgery. Amputation can cause a number of other complications, including edema, deep vein thrombosis, pneumonia, and stump and phantom limb pain.

Her family has set up a GoFundMe page to help them raise money to pay her medical bills, which, as she needs more and more surgeries, keep rising. So far, they have raised nearly $70,000.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.