Brigitte Do was attacked by a shark on a popular New Caledonian Beach. She lost a hand, a thumb and two fingers from the other hand and part of her left leg.
Do’s father Owen Drew was asked whether it was a miracle she was alive and he said yes as she suffered “unbelievable wounds”. “She is very lucky she had those people assist her on the beach,” Drew said.
She was flown to Australia and was treated by Dr Bish Soliman and the surgical team at Westmead Private.
Brigitte has since undergone 18 surgical procedures including the reconstitution of muscles from her back and her amputated arm to her leg to ensure she could walk again. Brigitte also underwent a great toe transfer to reconstruct her missing right thumb.
Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Dr Bish Soliman, said Brigitte’s injuries were unique and severe.
“It’s very rare to see such severe injuries. They were unusual also, in that she lost her left hand and right thumb, index and middle fingers as well as her left thigh muscles and major nerve,” Dr Soliman said.
“The local doctors did an amazing job in stabilising her prior to her transferring her to Westmead Private. From there, I discussed her case with a number of different surgeons.
“We discussed leg amputation and reconstructive options with Brigitte and her family and ultimately, together we decided to pursue a reconstruction.
“Brigitte was an absolute pleasure to look after. Despite her injuries she remained pleasant, determined and always compliant. She is also lucky to have a lot of support around her to get her through the terrible injuries.”
After months of surgery and sewing her big toe onto her hand as her thumb, she is looking forward to going back to family and friends in Noumea.
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