The Dallas woman who lost a good part of her left side to a hungry shark in the Bahamas is close to leaving a Hollywood hospital to go home.
Lacy Webb, 34, who was flown to Memorial Regional Hospital for treatment after the attack, described her death-defying encounter Tuesday at a news conference at the hospital.
It was Jan. 6 and she was enjoying her annual New Year’s family vacation, she said, casually snorkeling in about 10 to 12 feet of water near Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands, when she felt something on her left side.
“I knew immediately it was a shark bite,” she said. “When I surfaced, I knew I had to very clearly communicate what was going on.”
Judging from the size of her wound, doctors and shark experts estimated an 8-foot bull shark ate about 5 to 10 pounds of flesh from her left side, from armpit to hip.
Despite the severity of her injuries, Webb kept calm. She put her head underwater, swam to her parents’ boat and climbed the ladder with help from her shocked husband Britt Martin.
“I continue to be amazed by my wife,” Martin said Tuesday. “She’s such a strong-willed and uplifting person.”
Webb remained upbeat throughout her rescue, the flight to the hospital, and multiple surgeries at Memorial Regional.
Andrew Rosenthal, the hospital’s Associate Director of Trauma Services, credited Webb’s attitude for her recovery.
“The ability to maintain composure in this sort of instance is something that makes the difference between survival and death, sometimes,” he said.
Rosenthal said that Webb will need to undergo future treatments, but that those can be done in Dallas where she lives.
Webb said she’s had a lot of help.
“I really think my faith pulled me through this,” she said. “I had a peace and calmness that I was in God’s hands, and that I was being taken care of.”
As proof, she said everyone she needed was in the right place at the right time.
Her husband has not left her side since pulling her onto the boat. As well, a retired nurse was on a nearby boat and emergency responders in the Bahamas were quick to treat her wound and prepare her for the flight to Hollywood, she said.
“The folks here at the hospital have been more than just caregivers,” she added. “They literally are like family to us.”
Surgeons pulled a shark tooth from her gaping wound, which she plans to wear on a necklace once scientists complete DNA tests to confirm the species of shark that attacked her.
And she vows to return to the ocean in the Bahamas.
“We'll be back. I'll be back in the water,” she said. “I don’t think this will change how we vacation there, at all.”