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    Boy whose arm bitten off by shark and reattached recovering slowly, still not able to walk

By Associated Press, 4/12/2002 10:25

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) A 9-year-old boy whose arm was bitten off by a 6½-foot shark last summer and reattached by surgeons can bend it at the elbow and is able to communicate slightly.

Jessie Arbogast has made some progress while recovering at home in Ocean Springs, Miss., but there have been no major strides, said Mike Burke of Sacred Heart Children's Hospital in Pensacola. The boy was treated there after the July 6 attack by a bull shark while playing in the surf in the Gulf of Mexico.

Jessie can say ''Mom,'' but ''there has been no breakthrough in communication,'' Burke said Thursday. ''Jessie's father said he notices these slight differences, but to an outsider it might not seem like much.''

The boy's brain was injured due to oxygen depletion because of extreme blood loss. The shark also took a chunk out of his right thigh, and Jessie is still not strong enough to walk.

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