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Boy Attacked by Shark Improves

An update now on the Mississippi boy who had a near-fatal run-in with a 7-foot-long shark last Friday in the Gulf of Mexico.

CBS's Bobbi Harley reports that doctors in Pensacola, Florida, today offered their most optimistic assessment yet on his chances for recovery.

One week after a shark ripped Jessie Arbogast’s arm off, causing the boy to bleed nearly to death, the 8-year-old is now starting to show some encouraging signs.

Dr. Rex Northrup of Sacred Heart Hospital said of Jessie’s condition, "Responding to pain, opening his eyes, breathing on his own, coughing when we are stimulating his wind pipe, uhhh, those are realistic expectations, and he is doing all of that."

Taken completely off a ventilator this afternoon, a hospital worker said his eyes are wide open and bright blue, although he remains in a coma and doctors don’t know if he’s suffered brain damage.

They have reattached his arm, but don’t expect he’ll ever regain full use of it. Even so, they are still optimistic.

"I'd love nothing more than to walk up here and see Jessie sitting up and following commands and doing those things," said Dr. Northrup.

What happened to young Jessie isn’t stopping people from going into the water, but it is making them think twice, even though only 34 of the 90 million people who swam off Florida’s coast last year were attacked by sharks.

"We look very close in the water before we even go in and we don't go in as deep as we [once] did," said Barb Huffman, a beach-goer.

Jessie’s struggle to survive has brought get-well messages from all over the world and in Pensacola dozens have donated blood.

Sister Jean Rhoads from Sacred Heart Hospital said, "The father reaches out and will brush his hair and, uh, just talk to him very very gently."

Remarkably, this family has gone through this experience once before. Their older son was about Jessie’s age when a car accident put him into a coma for several weeks. Now fully recovered, they hope Jessie will pull through the same way.
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