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Man 1 Shark 0

Bill Lytton was attacked by a shark but saved at Tufts MC.Bill Lytton was swimming in about 10 feet of water in Truro, MA, when he felt something grab his leg. That something was a shark.

“The pain was excruciating,” said Lytton, 61, a neurologist from Scarsdale, NY. “I felt like I was in a wrestling match.” Lytton started punching the shark in the gills until it released its grip and he swam to shore. He was taken by MedFlight to Tufts Medical Center.

“He was calm, conscious and talking when he arrived,” said Eric Mahoney, MD, a trauma surgeon at Tufts MC, crediting the quick thinking of those on the beach who helped control the bleeding. “It was amazing considering the extent of his injuries.” 

Lytton had multiple lacerations from his left hip down to just above his knee that went 75 percent around his leg-- two of those gashes deep enough to hit bone. He would undergo eight operations over his 12 days at the medical center. Surgeons recovered two pieces of razor-sharp shark’s teeth from the wound. 

Scott Ryan, MD is an orthopedic surgeon at Tufts Medical Center.“The shark missed major blood vessels and nerves by just millimeters,” said Scott Ryan, MD, Chief of Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery at Tufts MC. “He’s expected to make a full recovery.” 

Lytton is incredibly thankful to those who helped him on the beach that day and to the team at Tufts Medical Center who saved his leg, and his life. 

“They were phenomenal,” said Lytton. “In my medical experience, this is a fantastic outcome for a very difficult case. My family and I couldn’t be more grateful.” 

Dr. Lytton says the experience won’t keep him from swimming in the ocean again, although he may hesitate before going back to that Truro beach. 
 
“I didn’t like sharks before all of this,” he said. “I like them even less now.”