Shark bite victim needed 7 litres of blood

2011-09-29 14:11
Cape Town - A British man who was bitten by a shark at Fish Hoek beach on Tuesday is "not out of the woods yet" and is critical but stable, his doctor said on Wednesday.

Michael Cohen, 43, was given more than seven litres of blood, or 14 units, due to the severe blood loss he suffered, Professor Andrew Nicol said at a news conference at Constaniaberg Medi-Clinic.

Nicol said that although Cohen lost his right leg, doctors would be monitoring the UK man and taking him back into surgery within the next 24 hours to try and save the left leg.

Nicol praised the first responders to the incident saying that they had probably saved Cohen’s life by securing a tourniquet made out of a wetsuit and belts to his leg where his femoral artery had been severed.  

He said that usually with this type of injury, the patient "does not make it to the hospital".

"This was a nasty injury, it does take your breath away," added Nicol. "He is very, very lucky to be alive.”  

Nicol also said that Cohen was "showing signs of waking up" which was positive for his condition. However, he is being kept heavily sedated due to the severity of his injuries.

Cohen was bitten by a Great White shark when he apparently ignored shark flag warnings. The beach was also closed at the time of the attack.

Shark spotters who saw the animal tried to warn the man but were too late.

Cohen lives in Cape Town.

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