SHARK ATTACK VICTIM LIKELY DIED FROM MASIVE BLOOD LOSS, MISSING LIMBS
February 5 2010
Stuart, FL – Despite our almost utter dominance of the natural world, there are still a few threats to human beings aside from other humans beings. As the chief Apex predator, Homo Sapiens have for generations enjoyed a position as virtually
indestructible, creating weapons that nature could never have imagined. Despite that we are still susceptible to other top level predators such as Lions and Tigers. Though many land animals have figuratively been defanged, the animals of the sea though are a different story.
Sharks for many reasons have been the monsters that have haunted the nightmares of human beings for as long as we have taken to the seas for recreation. Although seafaring tales of giant squid, killer whales, and mythical Krakens abound, it is the shark that remains the one true aquatic threat to human beings. Though shark attacks and deaths are rare, a mere fifty fatalities since 1690 in the United States, movies such as ‘Jaws’ and nature documentaries continue to terrify the populace with the image of these monstrous eating machines. A kiteboarder in Florida learned the
truth of those fears the hard way when he was attacked and partially devoured by one of the animals. Stephen Schafer, 38, became the latest victim of the shark after dying from the loss of almost all his blood and a limb or two.
“Schafer was bitten on the buttocks and on the right thigh. His right hand was also wounded, but that apparently happened when the shark bit his thigh. It looks like the shark hit his leg and he put his hand down there and that became part of the same bite,” said associate medical examiner Dr. Linda O'Neil. “The thigh wound was the cause of death as it severed branches of the femoral artery. Arteries carry blood away from the heart and distribute it out towards smaller veins. When this is severed, the patient has very little time. The human body only contains so much blood and when it runs out, it runs out and generally the patient dies which is what happened here.”
With massive jaws and rows of serrated teeth most large sharks are capable of causing major trauma to the human body which can result in death.
“The truth is shark attacks are relatively rare all over the world. Sharks simply are not
attracted to human beings for food which is why, such as with incidents like this, the patient was left uneaten, well mostly uneaten. Often sharks will bite, realize the food was unappetizing, and let go which is why most attack victims ultimately survive,” said Scrape TV Zoology analyst Cambridge Walker. “The odds of survival inside a shark are very rare. Many people are used to the idea of something like Pinocchio being trapped inside the wall, but in reality such things do not happen. Sharks are, for one, much smaller than whales and could not swallow a human being whole. The second and most important reason is that their stomachs contain acids which break down food before passing into the intestines for processing, and surviving that process would be very difficult indeed.”
Shark digestion is similar to human beings’ in many ways, though we tend to chew our food more thoroughly.
“If you’ve ever eaten a live goldfish you can see the difficulties at play. By the time the fish goes through all of that it has been processed into in various components. You don’t see the fish swimming around in the toilet after a day or so, it just doesn’t work that way and the same thing applies to sharks,” continued Walker. “Look, the reality is shark attacks are so rare that most people don’t ever have to worry about them. For the people that do though, watch out, massive blood loss will kill you just like it did with this guy.”
Massive blood loss is the leading cause of death for people with massive wounds.
Mike Michaels, American Correspondent