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St. Joseph Hospital physicians treat severe wounds of shark attack victim

Eureka, CA (October 31, 2012) – Twenty-five year old Scott Stephens of Manila, California, says he feels extremely lucky. The experienced surfer was out in the water on the North Jetty Tuesday morning catching a wave when he says a shark came up and attacked him. Stephens was able to make it to shore where several bystanders then helped take him to an ambulance. Emergency responders brought Stephens to St. Joseph Hospital's Emergency Department (ED) where he was first treated for his injuries.

Stephens, who was in a state of shock when he arrived, says he felt a sense of relief when he got to the hospital. "As soon as I got into the emergency department, I had total assurance," Stephens said. The surfer only spent about a half-hour in the ED before heading into surgery. Emergency medicine specialist, Diana Yandell, MD, said she and the ED staff moved quickly to treat Stephen's injuries. "I'm very proud of how we mobilized our team. This is what we do and we're ready for it."

Surgeon John VanSpeybroeck, MD, said this is the first shark bite he has seen in his 30 years here. He closed Stephens' wounds, which included several deep lacerations on his torso, during a procedure which took less than two hours. He credits, among other things, the quick work of the medical staff and the patient's good health to such a positive outcome. "There's a lot of luck involved. The shark didn't enter his chest cavity," Van Speybroeck said.

Stephens, who is expected to go home today or tomorrow, says this incident won't keep him from surfing again. But for now, he's thankful for his family and those who helped save his life. "Everyone at St. Joseph Hospital is amazing. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for them."

Emergency medicine specialist, Diana Yandell, MD and Surgeon John Van Speybroeck, MD pose for a photo with shark attack victim Scott Stephens at St. Joseph Hospital.

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