• Rescuer keeps in touch with teen bitten by shark in Neptune Beach

    By: Deanna Bettineschi, Action News Jax


    The 13-year-old bitten by a shark in Neptune Beach is now making a recovery.

    John McCleary, one of the people who helped keep the bleeding under control until rescue arrived, said he and the boy have stayed in touch.

    “I’ve been in contact with him all throughout the hospital visit and when he went home I went to his welcome home party,” said McCleary.

    Related: Boy, 13, bitten by shark on Neptune Beach, 911 calls released

    He said the young shark-bite victim has had two surgeries so far and for one of them, cadaver parts were used.

    “They used cadaver tissue, muscle tissue, nerves ligaments, all that stuff,” said McCleary.

    Action News Jax spoke with chair and professor of plastic surgery at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Galen Perdikis.

    He said cadaver parts have been used for at least 10 years.

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    Especially with a deep shark bite, Perdikis said cadaver parts can fill in the defects of the teen's leg.

    For example, he said the 13-year-old’s own tissue will grow into the cadaver tissue and become one.

    McCleary said when they learned the boy bitten by the shark was going to have that surgery, he joked around with him to keep his spirits up

    “He didn’t know what cadaver meant. So I was teasing him and said, ‘all right, when the doctor comes, request a former NBA player.’ He said 'what's a cadaver?'  I said, 'well let me tell you, when you start to heal from this you’re going to be able to slam the basketball, you know!’”

    McCleary said he plans to take off work tomorrow and go visit the boy at home.

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