‘I’m getting back to a normal life,’ says Cape Cod shark bite victim
Dr. William Lytton, the man who survived a shark attack in Truro last month, typically spends about a month every summer on Cape Cod. That will not change, he said this week.
Whether he’ll go back in the water at Long Nook Beach is another matter.
“I might be a little hesitant,” said Lytton over the phone on Thursday. “But, you know, you fall off the horse, you got to get back on.”
Lytton, a 61-year-old neurologist, spends part of each summer working at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. Before the Aug. 15 shark attack, he had been enjoying a beach day with his wife, two young daughters, aged 10 and 12, and friends.
He was swimming in about 8 to 10 feet of water off the Truro beach when the shark struck, clamping down on his leg for about 20 seconds before it started to twist, said Lytton.
“I thought, ‘If I don’t do something, I could be dead,’” he said.
The shark’s head was out of the water when Lytton struck it in the gills once. After the strike, the shark let go, but the blow also severed two of his tendons in one of his hands, he said.
At the point, his leg was a “cloud of blood,” but the shark missed an artery that would have caused him to bleed out, he said.
Now, almost a month after the harrowing experience, Lytton is healing at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown. He’s undergone at least a half-dozen surgeries since the shark bite, he said. He needs one more before he returns to his Scarsdale, N.Y., home.
Most of his sutures are out -- only one set remain and he’s due to have them removed next week. He hopes to be able to go home by the end of the month.
“It’s going surprisingly well,” said Lytton of rehab.
He said the soft cast on his leg comes off for part of the day so he’s able to bend his knee and try to build strength back in his quadriceps that were sliced by the shark’s bite. The hand that was injured when he struck the animal is now out of a cast and in a splint, so he has a wider range of motion, he said.
“That really makes a big difference,” he said.
With his hand unecumbered by a cast, he has been able to get some work done during his rehabilitation. Lytton, who does clinical work at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn and research work at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. said without the cast, he’s been able to do some typing, which has enabled him to continue work on a grant.
“I’m getting back to a normal life,” he said.