Shark or large barracuda bit man's leg twice in water near W Hotel

Doctors expect bite victim to recover

MIAMI - A Jackson Memorial Hospital trauma surgeon spoke out on Tuesday about the recovery of a swimmer who was bitten by a shark or a large barracuda on South Beach this past weekend.

The man was with his wife and daughter in waist-deep water in South Beach near the W Hotel on Saturday when he was bitten.

"There was a man and his wife and their 4-year-old daughter. They were in the ocean and started screaming for help," Daniela Murcia, a witness, said Saturday. "They were in the ocean and started screaming for help... It was really shocking."

Doctors believe a shark or a large barracuda bit the man's calf twice, severing a major blood vessel.

"It was a pretty significant bite. It went most of the circumference around his calf," Dr. Howard Lieberman, a trauma surgeon at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Other beachgoers helped the injured man and tied a belt around his leg to stop the bleeding.

"By the time I got there, he had a tourniquet around his leg. We applied another tourniquet around the other side of his leg," said Dr. Bill Deangulo, a physician at Miami Children's Hospital who helped the man. "His leg was out of the water and the water was red in color."

Doctors said beachgoers did the right thing. The man was brought to Jackson Memorial Hospital, had a blood transfusion, received stitches, and was expected to make a full recovery.

"He will regain about 95, about 100 percent of function over time. He's working now with some physical therapy and should be discharged later today," said Lieberman.

Doctors said he has already started walking. According to Jackson, the victim checked out of the hospital shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The man's name has not yet been released.

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