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Home 'a great place' for young shark attack victim

Tyson: Home is a great place for recovery
Tyson: Home is a great place for recovery  

PENSACOLA, Florida (CNN) -- The familiar smells of his house could help 8-year-old Jessie Arbogast recover after a shark attack off the coast of Florida last month, one of the boy's doctors told CNN.

Jessie was released from Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola on Sunday and taken by ambulance to his home in Mississippi. He spent more than five weeks at Sacred Heart, where he was transferred after doctors at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola reattached his arm.

"Home is a great place for him," said Dr. John Tyson of Baptist Hospital, where Jessie was originally treated immediately after the attack. "The smells of home ... can stimulate memories and stimulate the mind and being around his siblings and his own environment, I think it's a good place for him."

Sacred Heart Hospital said the boy will continue outpatient rehabilitation at home "with the help of home health nurses, physical therapists, and physicians."

No dramatic change

Arbogast was bitten by a bull shark.
Arbogast was bitten by a bull shark.  

Doctors said Jessie, who lost most of his blood in the attack, has not had a dramatic change in his condition, and they said it will be as long as six months before they know how much progress he will make.

"All of his other body systems have stabilized very nicely, his kidneys have recovered nicely and really we're left with a long neurological recovery," Tyson told CNN. "We would love it to be short, but I suspect it's going to be months to see how far he can come."

Jessie was swimming with his family in shallow waters off the Florida panhandle July 6 when a bull shark tore off his right arm and bit off a large chunk of his leg. His uncle dragged the shark to shore, where a park ranger shot and killed the shark and retrieved the boy's arm.

Doctors said Jessie has improved since the accident, but that his condition has only had a mild change in recent weeks.

"His eyes are open, he watches cartoons, but he's not following commands," Tyson said. "(His) rehabilitation is dependent on being able to respond to commands."

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