MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — A Jackson Memorial Hospital trauma surgeon who treated a man bitten in the calf by something in the ocean off Miami Beach last weekend still doesn’t know exactly what caused the injury.
Dr. Howard Leiberman told CBS4’s Cynthia Demos Tuesday morning the victim was bitten twice in the right leg but he could not definitively say whether it was a shark that bit the man.
He was swimming with his wife and daughter off 23rd Street and Collins Avenue behind the W Hotel on Saturday.
If it was a shark, it’s a very rare situation. Shark bites are seldom seen in South Florida.
However, the man was surrounded by a school of tarpon when he felt the bite and started bleeding.
The local man did not want his identity revealed but doctors said he’s recovering and will be fine.
He suffered one bite on his upper right calf and a smaller bite towards his ankle.
“He came in and he was pretty pale,” described Dr. Leiberman. “His injury extended from here to here, with three gashes, and had a small bite down here.”
There’s home video of the man after the attack. Hilario Herrera was one of the first people to help. He used his shirt and belt as a tourniquet. The doctor said that was quick thinking.
“He should regain motor function,” said Dr. Leiberman.
The doctor said the patient’s leg should function fine with the exception of some numbing and partial nerve damage.
“He was lucky he didn’t have tissue loss. Most shark bites have their tissue and muscle gone or lost.”
The patient underwent three layers of stitches for the bite which took place in just 3 ½ feet of water.
Now, both the victim and doctors will continue to wonder whether it was a shark, a barracuda, or something else in the water that caused the injury. No matter what it was, the doctor said this patient is just happy to be okay.
“It was a pretty big bite.”
The man is expected to be released from the hospital on Tuesday.