Local News

After three surgeries, NC teen shark victim 'amazes' doctors

Posted June 25, 2015
Updated June 26, 2015

— Kiersten Yow, the 12-year-old Archdale girl who lost a limb after a shark attack off the North Carolina coast earlier this month, has impressed doctors with her recovery.

“Kiersten continues to amaze her entire care team with her upbeat, can-do attitude, which is truly extraordinary for a girl her age given the trauma she experienced,” said Dr. Bill Adamson, surgeon-in-chief at UNC Children’s Hospital, in a statement. “There’s been no ‘why me’ or sulking, just a dogged determination to reestablish her independence and return to a normal life.”

Yow was brought to UNC after her left arm was bitten off and her left leg seriously damaged in a shark attack off Oak Island on June 13. About an hour after Yow was injured, a 16-year-old from Colorado lost his left arm in a shark attack about 2 miles away.

Yow’s first two surgeries involved “operative debridement,” where surgeons removed dead and damaged tissue from her wounds and changed wound dressings. Yow had her first reconstructive surgery on Wednesday, where surgeons covered her leg wound with a skin graft and completed initial elbow reconstruction by reattaching tendons, the hospital said. Further reconstruction will occur within the next few weeks.

The shark bite to Yow’s rear upper thigh did not reach bone or nerves, the hospital said. Despite muscle loss, doctors said skin grafting will provide her with good function in her leg.

“With rehabilitative therapy, we anticipate she will remaster walking independently and even be able to exercise,” Adamson said.

Yow’s progress is being chronicled on a Facebook page, which had more than 13,500 likes as of Thursday.

Yow is the fourth person injured in a reported shark attack off the coast this year. A 13-year-old girl sustained minor injuries after suffering lacerations on her right foot on June 11 at Ocean Isle Beach. An 8-year-old boy received minor injuries on Wednesday after he was bitten on his foot and leg in Surf City.

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  • Jae'lin Crowder Jun 25, 2015
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    Little girl is a soldier!