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Doctor Who Survived Cape Shark Attack Returns To Tufts To Share Experience With Students

BOSTON (CBS) – It was nearly a year ago that Dr. William Lytton was flown to Tufts Medical Center after being attacked by a shark off the coast of Cape Cod. On Thursday, he returned, walking remarkably well and cracking his usual jokes.

"He looks great. We just tinkered with him. He did all the hard work," said Dr. Eric Mahoney, a trauma surgeon at Tufts Medical Center.

"I'm just here because I look great," joked Lytton.

Dr. William Lytton shared his experience as a trauma patient with students at Tufts on Thursday. (WBZ-TV)

Lytton is really back at Tufts to talk to students and doctors. He's a neurologist in New York, but Thursday's visit was all about sharing his own personal experience as a trauma patient, starting with the moment a great white shark latched on to his leg while he was swimming off of Longnook Beach in Truro.

"I felt this very severe pain in my left leg. At first, I had no idea what that would be, but it was very obvious when I turned around and saw this large animal stuck to my leg," said Lytton.

Lytton punched the shark in the gills, and it swam off. Then, a group of people at the beach, including two nursing students and an EMT, came to his aid.

"There was really a lot of competence around, which is was nice, I think, about being attacked near Boston - really got your medical crew right there," said Lytton.

Once at Tufts, doctors performed nine surgeries over 11 days. They even extracted a shark tooth from his leg. On Thursday, students and surgeons got a detailed look at how Lytton was treated and what he went through.

shark tooth William Lytton
A shark tooth that was pulled from William Lytton's leg. (Photo credit: Jeremy Lechan - Tufts Medical Center)

"Patient perspective is very different from a physician's perspective, and it's important to learn from that," Mahoney said.

One year later, Lytton said his life is pretty much back to normal.

"I am surprised by it. It's fantastic, the progress I've made," said Lytton.

But, he hasn't started swimming again just yet.

"My wife says if I'm very good I can be upgraded from shower to bath, but we'll see about the ocean. The ocean is a couple steps beyond that," laughed Lytton.

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