Bethany Hamilton

Caroline Friday

What Happened

During a surf session on Halloween morning 2003, Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark, which bit off her left arm when she was 14 years old. By the time she arrived at the hospital she had lost over 60% of her blood and was in hypovolemic shock. She spent a week in recovery before being released.

How she delt with it

Bethany’s father said that she never “threw a pity party” about what happened to her. She kept surfing to help her get past what happened to her. She said she deals with her fears by singing a song or praying. Three weeks after her incident she returned to surfing.

Medical Professionals

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, MD, provided the five stages of grief that are well known to most mental health providers. They are:

• Denial and isolation: “I can’t believe this is happening.”

•Anger: “Why me?” “I can’t stand this.”

•Bargaining: “If I do this, will I get well?”

•Depression: “What’s the use?”

•Acceptance: “Nothing I can do about it, may as well make the best of it.”

Medical Professionals

Although the limb is no longer there, the nerve endings at the site of the amputation continue to send pain signals to the brain that make the brain think the limb is still there. Sometimes the memory of pain is still there acting as pain.
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