A TEENAGE WHO lost her leg in a horror shark attack is finally home after more than a month of recovery.
Addison Bethea, 17, has been at a hospital in Tallahassee, Florida since she was mauled by a shark while scalloping on June 30.
“Addison spent 37 days at TMH (Tallahassee Medical Hospital) in our pediatric intensive care unit, pediatric department and then at Tallahassee Memorial Rehabilitation Center,” the hospital wrote in an update on Facebook.
“She has had several successful surgeries to save as much of her leg as possible and is on the road to recovery, eventually using a prosthesis.”
As she left the Florida hospital, she was greeted with applause from the staff caring for her, according to a video released by TMH.
“Go Addison, go!” A staff member cheered as the smiling teenager seemed to have mastered the crutches she uses to help her walk.
As The Sun previously reported, the teen was attacked while bridging alongside her brother Rhett Willingham on the Keaton Beach, Fla. shore, when she said she felt something touch her leg.
Moments later, she battled the shark, which bit her multiple times before her brother helped separate her from the beast.
Her brother, a firefighter and paramedic, and other boaters helped tie a tourniquet to control Addison’s bleeding until she was flown to a trauma center.
The injured teenager’s mother, Michelle Bethea, told The Sun that Addison grew up watching shows about sharks and discussing what she would do if she were ever put in an unlikely situation with the animal.
“Oddly enough, Addison has always watched shows about sharks and growing up on the water – that’s always something that’s always discussed,” Michelle said.
“She was trying to do everything right – like hitting the shark on the nose.
“Addison was trying to pry the shark off her own finger and that’s an instinct you can’t advise on – that’s a survival instinct.”
Michelle explained how Addison and her three brothers have been making scallops since they could swim.
She also noted that her daughter was “swimming with her brother” when the attack took place.
Despite the attack, which Michelle calls an “unusual accident,” she insists her daughter will still get back in the water.
“You can’t stop living your life because this happened. It was clear water, a calm day and she had a swimming buddy,” added the mother-of-four.
Michelle is optimistic that her “tough and strong” daughter will adjust well to this big life change and said Addison’s attitude remains positive.
Despite the optimism, Michelle admitted that her family will soon be “putting on quite a lot of medical expenses as Addison will need prosthetics in the near future.”
“Our concern is that Addison has the best mobility going forward and that will allow her to live the most normal life possible. That’s why we went this route,” explained Michelle.
She hopes people can help support her daughter through the several approved fundraisers that have been set up.
A GoFundMe page set up to help with medical expenses related to her attack and rehabilitation has so far raised just over $87,000 of the $125,000 goal.
More than 1,200 donations have been made on the site.
Florida is sometimes dubbed the “Shark Bite Capital of the World” and experts say we are entering peak shark bite season.
According to Florida’s Shark Attack File, August and September are the two months historically known for the most shark attacks, and the vast majority of them occur off the coast of Florida’s Volusia County.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5996641/shark-attack-victim-amputated-addison-bethea/ Important update on shark attack victim who lost leg in horror off Florida beach