Trauma surgeon shares update on Pacific Grove shark attack victim

A Monterey man attacked by a shark while swimming off Pacific Grove Wednesday morning was bitten by a great white shark, according to investigators with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife who took DNA samples from the swimmer’s wetsuit.Watch the full interview with Dr. Nicholas Rottler in the video player above. The swimmer, identified as 62-year-old Steve Bruemmer of Monterey, narrowly escaped death according to his doctor who spoke to KSBW Action News 8 Thursday evening.“It could’ve been much, much worse he could’ve not made it out of the water,” said Bruemmer’s doctor Nicolas Rottler, a trauma surgeon at Natividad Medical Center. Rottler said the shark came within a millimeter of severing a major artery.“The injuries that he had were easy for us to fix but if they’d been much deeper if it severed a major artery he could’ve bled out in the water before anyone could get him to shore so it could’ve been much, much worse,” Rottler said.Rottler said he operated on the avid swimmer for over two hours and put “a few hundred stitches” on him. Bruemmer is in good spirits, alert and talking, his surgeon said. His road to recovery could take some time. “He’ll definitely probably have weeks to months of physical therapy just to give time for all the wounds to heal and the muscles to get strong again and he will likely walk out of here but he might walk to a rehab unit to do some rehab first we’ll see how he does,” said Rottler. Bruemmer released a statement from his hospital bed in which he said: “The shark bite was unlucky. But after that, I have just had so much good luck.” The day Bruemmer went swimming was marked by warm temperatures, clear skies and calm waters which Bruemmer said may have led to his rescue. “And the day was so calm and warm, and the beach was crowded. There were no waves, and there was no chop. So people could hear me yelling “Help” from a great distance, including from the Rec Trail, where someone called 911.” Bruemmer thanked three good Samaritans who came to his aid. A couple from Folsom who was paddle boarding at the time and were in the area celebrating their wedding anniversary, and a surfer from the Moss Landing area. Bruemmer is part of a local swim club called the Kelp Krawlers but they don’t typically swim on Wednesdays. Bruemmer decided to go swimming Wednesday because the weather was so nice. “I didn’t know he doesn’t usually swim on Wednesdays, maybe no more swimming on Wednesdays for him,” his surgeon said.Bruemmer is listed in fair and stable condition at Natividad Medical Center.

A Monterey man attacked by a shark while swimming off Pacific Grove Wednesday morning was bitten by a great white shark, according to investigators with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife who took DNA samples from the swimmer’s wetsuit.

Watch the full interview with Dr. Nicholas Rottler in the video player above.

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The swimmer, identified as 62-year-old Steve Bruemmer of Monterey, narrowly escaped death according to his doctor who spoke to KSBW Action News 8 Thursday evening.

“It could’ve been much, much worse he could’ve not made it out of the water,” said Bruemmer’s doctor Nicolas Rottler, a trauma surgeon at Natividad Medical Center.

Rottler said the shark came within a millimeter of severing a major artery.

“The injuries that he had were easy for us to fix but if they’d been much deeper if it severed a major artery he could’ve bled out in the water before anyone could get him to shore so it could’ve been much, much worse,” Rottler said.

Rottler said he operated on the avid swimmer for over two hours and put “a few hundred stitches” on him.

Bruemmer is in good spirits, alert and talking, his surgeon said. His road to recovery could take some time.

“He’ll definitely probably have weeks to months of physical therapy just to give time for all the wounds to heal and the muscles to get strong again and he will likely walk out of here but he might walk to a rehab unit to do some rehab first we’ll see how he does,” said Rottler.

Bruemmer released a statement from his hospital bed in which he said: “The shark bite was unlucky. But after that, I have just had so much good luck.”

The day Bruemmer went swimming was marked by warm temperatures, clear skies and calm waters which Bruemmer said may have led to his rescue.

“And the day was so calm and warm, and the beach was crowded. There were no waves, and there was no chop. So people could hear me yelling “Help” from a great distance, including from the Rec Trail, where someone called 911.”

Bruemmer thanked three good Samaritans who came to his aid. A couple from Folsom who was paddle boarding at the time and were in the area celebrating their wedding anniversary, and a surfer from the Moss Landing area.

Bruemmer is part of a local swim club called the Kelp Krawlers but they don’t typically swim on Wednesdays. Bruemmer decided to go swimming Wednesday because the weather was so nice.

“I didn’t know he doesn’t usually swim on Wednesdays, maybe no more swimming on Wednesdays for him,” his surgeon said.

Bruemmer is listed in fair and stable condition at Natividad Medical Center.

Contributed by local news sources

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