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07/13/2005 Lydia Paulk (Texas)

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:19 am
by sharkbait
Shark Attacks Charlotte Girl

Lydia Paulk suffered lacerations on the top of her foot and was in fair condition after surgery.

Galveston, TX -- A 14-year-old North Carolina girl was injured Wednesday when a shark bit her left foot while she was swimming in waist-deep water off the Texas coast, officials said.

Lydia Paulk suffered lacerations on the top of her foot and was in fair condition Wednesday night after surgery, said Cathy Nall, a spokeswoman for the University of Texas Medical Branch in nearby Galveston. Nall said additional surgery is planned for Friday to reattach tendons.

Lydia, whose family lives near Charlotte, was swimming with family and friends when she felt something hit her leg and grab her foot. She saw the 4-foot-long shark swim away after it had bitten her.

Galveston County Sheriff's Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo said in a statement that officials believe the shark was feeding at the time. Sharks are believed to be feeding closer to shore because of the large number of smaller fish in the water that are part of their diet.

Marine experts have said sharks are on the move during summer months and frequently mine the shallow Gulf of Mexico waters for fish.

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:19 am
by sharkbait
Slowed by a bulky cast on her left leg and aided by crutches, a North Carolina teen who was attacked by a shark off the Texas coast scooted into the room Thursday like she was rushing the soccer net.

Lydia Paulk, a 14-year-old soccer player from nearby Denver, N.C., underwent surgery last week to repair torn tendons in her foot after she was bitten by a 5-foot shark while wading in waist-deep water near Galveston.

At her first news conference since the attack, Lydia smiled when a television reporter asked for her reaction to all the attention she was getting after the attack.

"To be blunt, it's kind of annoying," she said.

Her parents, Larry and Laura Paulk, had plenty to smile about Thursday after getting a good report from doctors at Carolinas Medical Center, where Lydia is undergoing follow-up care with Dr. Steven Frick, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

After examining her foot, Frick said the wound - which required 50 stitches - was healing well and Lydia might not have to have skin grafts.

"There's no signs of infection," he said, offering compliments to the surgeons in Texas who operated on Lydia immediately after the attack. "Today, I feel the skin has a better chance of surviving."

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:19 am
by sharkbait
Shark bite victim unafraid
14-year-old girl says she's ready to 'keep on going'
Chronicle Correspondent

GALVESTON - A North Carolina girl bitten by a 5-foot black-tip shark off the Bolivar Peninsula made her first public appearance since the attack Saturday, saying she has no fear of returning to the water.

Kevin Fujii / Chronicle
Lydia Paulk, 14, of Denver, N.C., gets a push Saturday from her mother, Laura. Lydia, who has been at University of Texas Medical Branch since being bitten by a shark Wednesday, said her foot "doesn't really hurt that much."
"I just have to deal with (this), continue on, get it healed and keep on going," said Lydia Paulk, 14.

Paulk, who was bitten Wednesday, held a midafternoon news conference with her left foot in a cast that extended almost to her knee. She and her family were planning to leave for home today, said Laura Paulk, Lydia's mother.

The high school sophomore, who has been hospitalized at the University of Texas Medical Branch, appeared to grimace as her foot was propped on to a chair by her mother but said she feels fine.

"It doesn't really hurt that much," Lydia Paulk said. "All the nerves are healing. You know when your feet fall asleep, that's kind of what it feels like right now. It's tingling.

Paulk has undergone two surgeries to repair torn and severed tendons in her foot, UTMB orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kelly Carmichael said. He estimated her recovery time should take six weeks to three months.

"She should be able to walk fairly normal," Carmichael said. "She may not be able to completely lift her toes off the ground. She should be able to get back to soccer. The most uncertain part is what will happen with the skin. It could turn out that her skin lives and almost nothing else has to be done or it could turn out that she needs a skin graft or some other procedure."

Paulk said she was pushing her cousin in a rubber raft, accompanied by her aunt, when she felt what she thought was a fish brush her leg.

"It bumped me coming towards me and then it must have turned around and bumped me again. Then it grabbed my foot."

Paulk said she tried to climb on the raft, while her aunt screamed and hit at the water to scare the shark away.

"My leg was still in the water and (the shark) still had it," Paulk said. "It was thrashing around, grabbing, kind of still tearing at" my foot.

"It was scary," Paulk said. "I guess I have God to thank that it let go and didn't bite anything else."

Two shark teeth that were removed from Paulk's foot will eventually be returned to her, Carmichael said.

"I'd like to have them as a little souvenir," Paulk said.

Paulk's shark bite is the sixth in six years along the Galveston County shore.