Doctors save man's hand after shark attack near Biscayne Bay

'I was lucky to have a doctor near me,' Juan Ordonez says


MIAMI – Miami-Dade County dentist Alvaro Ordonez went live on Facebook last weekend using only his left hand. His right wrist was in a tourniquet and bleeding from a shark bite.

In the video, a bystander can be heard yelling, "Shark bite! We got a shark bite!" as Ordonez puts pressure on the wound.

Ordonez, 50, appeared at news conference Tuesday with the doctor who saved his hand.

The incident happened near Biscayne Bay when Ordonez and his friends were free diving and spear fishing Saturday morning. 

He says multiple sharks including a bull shark circled him as he tried to pull the fish he speared back onto a boat.

"It came at me and I grabbed him by the snout. I kind of flipped it, but I couldn't flip it all the way because it was massive," Ordonez said.

Luckily his friend, physician Erik Salado was able to make a tourniquet for Ordonez to slow down what they described as gushing blood from his wrist. 

"I was lucky to have a doctor near me," Ordonez said.

Ordonez was quickly brought to shore and paramedics rushed him to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center.

Trauma surgeon Dr. Rishi Rattan said the surgical procedure lasted a few hours to reattach tendons to Ordonez's fingers while preserving his nerve function. It's an injury he said he doesn't see often.

"The reality is that he has had such a good outcome because they were very safe divers following all the best practices and guidelines and having a plan both in and out of the water," Rattan said.

Ordonez said the shark bite has deterred him from free diving and spear fishing. Still a strong advocate for shark conservation, he plans to return to the water when he's fully recovered.

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