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22-Year-Old Shark Bite Victim Recuperating After Surgery

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MARYANN-MARTINEZ-600x450 MaryAnn Martinez
MaryAnn Martinez worked in television newsrooms across the country for...
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Healthwatch

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A South Florida woman is out of surgery and recuperating Monday after her leg was bit by a shark in Fort Lauderdale Sunday afternoon.

Jessica Vaughn’s leg was bit while she was on an inner tube in the Intracoastal Waterway with friends Sunday around 1:30 PM.

Vaughn, 22, said, during a press conference Monday afternoon, that she believes the shark that bit her was a bull shark.

“We were thinking it was three to four foot…probably a bull shark,” said Vaughn.

Vaughn is currently at Broward General Hospital where she underwent a two-hour surgery Sunday. She will remain at the hospital for a few more days and most likely has months of recovery ahead.

“She’s amazing. She’s a trooper, she’s been tough through the whole thing,” said Kim Alsina, Vaughn’s mother. “That’s what kept I think all of us stable and not freaking out since she’s been great.”

Vaughn was out on the waters with friends Sunday around 1:30 P.M. when she said she hesitantly jumped in the water.

“Before I went out, I kept saying ‘I’m afraid to go into the water because I don’t like not being able to see the bottom. I don’t know what’s under there,’” Vaughn said.

As she jumped into the water, she said she felt something on her right leg.

“It felt like somebody punched my leg but then once I saw my leg I thought that’s not just a fish,” said Vaughn, adding, “so then I realized it was a shark.”

Before Vaughn could get out of the water, the shark hit her in the face with its fin.

“After it smacked my leg it came over and in front of me and smacked me in the face with something,” said Vaughn.

Vaughn was taken to a nearby dock before being taken to the hospital.

“She had several wounds,” said Dr. Zoran Potparic a surgeon at Broward Health. “There was on both sides of the leg—obviously the shark caught her across the leg, around the leg, so on one side mostly tooth marks.”

Vaughn has no long-term damage but her main concern is being away from her waitressing job—she has not medical coverage. A fund was set up by her friends in order to help her pay medical expenses.

“I do want to thank them for that,” Vaughn said. “…I’ll be out of a job for a while—this will definitely help.”

To help Vaughn with her medical expenses, click here for more information.

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