Medical Expenses for Addison Bethea, shark attack

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Addison Bethea, 17, of Perry, Fla., shown here with her brother, is recovering at TMH following a shark attack on Thursday, June 30, off the coast of Keaton Beach. Addison was scalloping when she was bitten by a shark estimated to be about 9 feet in length. The shark was aggressive and attacked her several times until her brother was able to physically separate the shark from his sister.
Thanks to the help of her brother, Rhett Willingham, who is a Firefighter/EMT in Taylor County, and several other local boaters, Addison survived. They were able to work together to tie a tourniquet to control the bleeding until Addison could be airlifted to the Bixler Trauma & Emergency Center at TMH, the only Level II Trauma Center in the Big Bend Region of Florida.
Addison has devastating damage to the soft tissue in her right leg. The TMH trauma team stabilized her, and the trauma surgeon performed emergency surgery with a goal of restoring blood flow to her leg. She will undergo a second surgery Saturday, July 2 to further investigate the extent of the damage to her leg and determine what treatment options are available with the goal of saving her leg.
Addison has a long journey to recovery, but she was in good spirits today, surrounded by her family in Tallahassee Memorial’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Addison’s family would like to thank their community in Taylor County and everyone who has reached out offering their prayers and support during this difficult time. The family requests all media inquiries be made through the Marketing and Communications Department of TMH. For more information, visit TMH.ORG.

July 3 UPDATE 
Update on Addison Bethea: Addison Bethea, 17, of Perry, Florida, is continuing to recover at TMH following a shark attack on Thursday, June 30 and is scheduled for her third surgery on Tuesday, July 5. Addison, daughter of Shane Bethea and Michelle Murphy, was scalloping when she was attacked off the coast of Keaton Beach by a shark. She suffered devastating injury to her upper right leg, including the loss of her quadriceps, the four muscles in the front of the thigh that work together to keep the kneecap stable and allow for lower leg extension. The bite also caused massive nerve and vascular damage. The injuries to Addison’s leg are so extensive that they will require amputation just above the right knee, which will take place during surgery on Tuesday. “This is the best-case scenario for Addison, and the best option to get her back to the most normal life possible,” Addison’s mother, Michelle, of Satellite Beach, Florida, said. Since Addison’s arrival, the surgery team at TMH has successfully optimized her long-term function and mobility by preserving as much of her leg as possible. During her first surgery, surgeons skillfully restored blood flow to Addison’s lower leg by rebuilding the blood vessels. This procedure preserved the tissue in her lower leg, keeping it alive and making it possible to use this tissue in reconstruction on Tuesday. Surgeons will amputate the leg just above the knee and take muscular tissue and skin from the lower leg to wrap around Addison’s femur, reconstructing the upper leg. This will give Addison the ability to use a prosthesis for her lower leg. Addison has a long road to recovery that will require extensive rehabilitation, but her family says she is staying upbeat and strong. She says she will be back in the ocean once she heals. Addison is a cheerleader and tennis player and is in excellent physical condition. Her doctors say her vital signs continue to remain strong, and she is expected to do well in her surgery and recovery. “Addison got a little emotional today when we told her about the amputation,” her mother, Michelle said, “but she has accepted it, and she knows this is her best path forward. She’s embracing it and trying to keep a positive outlook.” A GoFundMe fundraiser has been established to help Addison and her family. It is titled, “Medical Expenses for Addison Bethea, Shark Attack.” Addison’s family would like to thank their community in Taylor County and everyone who has reached out offering their prayers and support during this difficult time. The family requests all media inquiries be made through the Marketing and Communications Department of TMH. For more information, visit TMH.ORG.

JULY 6 UPDATE 
Addison Bethea, 17, shown here with her parents just before surgery today, is recovering at TMH after a successful operation to amputate her right leg just above the knee following a shark attack on Thursday, June 30. Addison, daughter of Shane Bethea and Michelle Murphy, gave her family a big smile as she was wheeled into her room in TMH's pediatric unit about 2:30 pm following surgery. Addison was scalloping when she was attacked off the coast of Keaton Beach, about 80 miles southeast of Tallahassee. She suffered devastating injury to her upper right leg, including the loss of her quadriceps, the four muscles in the front of the thigh that work together to keep the kneecap stable and allow for lower leg extension. The bite also caused massive nerve and vascular damage. Surgeons at TMH have been working since Addison arrived to save as much of her leg as possible and to optimize her long-term mobility. Her first surgery at TMH made today’s successful amputation of her lower leg and reconstruction of her upper leg possible. During that first surgery, surgeons skillfully restored blood flow to Addison's lower leg by rebuilding the blood vessels. This procedure preserved the muscular tissue and skin of her lower leg, keeping it alive and making it possible to use this tissue in reconstruction today. “Saving the tissue of the lower leg was paramount in today’s surgery even being possible,” her dad, Shane Bethea, said. “The surgeons and the medical staff can’t get enough praise from us for the wonderful care of our baby girl. We are so thankful that she ended up here at TMH.” Addison has a long road to recovery that will require extensive rehabilitation, but her family says she is remaining strong and upbeat. A GoFundMe fundraiser has been established to help Addison and her family. It is titled, “Medical Expenses for Addison Bethea, Shark Attack.” Her family has also started a Facebook page, Fight Like Addison, where they will post periodic updates on her progress. Addison's family would like to thank their community in Taylor County and people from across the nation and world who have reached out offering their prayers and support during this difficult time. Addison is not receiving visitors at this time while she recovers from surgery. The family requests all media inquiries be made through the Marketing and Communications Department of TMH. For more information, visit TMH.ORG.

Sunday, July 10 update from Addison’s dad, Shane. 
Last night (Saturday) was not a very good night for Addison. She was in extreme pain from the leg and was complaining of the bandage feeling too tight. She had a slight fever and her white blood cell count was a little elevated. So this morning they performed a CT scan to see if there was a buildup of any fluids that weren’t able to drain properly. She had developed a hematoma and was taken in for surgery this morning to evaluate and drain it. They are going to leave that part of the wound open in order for it to continue to drain with the intention of having another surgery Tuesday to close it up if all looks well. Please continue to keep her in your prayers for God’s loving hands to reach down upon her. And please keep me and her mama in those prayers as well.

July 12 UPDATE 
Addison Bethea update! Addison continues to do well and her treatment is progressing as expected. She and her family were able to get outside together and take in some sunshine and fresh air while sharing her story with local media this afternoon. Addison and her family are extremely grateful for the support they’ve received from her care team, the community and well-wishers worldwide. They invite anyone who wishes to follow her recovery or contribute to her GoFundMe to visit Fight Like Addison. ❤ #FightLikeAddison




  • Anonymous 
    • $250 
    • 4 d
  • Shanon Perry 
    • $25 
    • 7 d
  • Mimi Geddis 
    • $100 
    • 8 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 12 d
  • Kathy Sprague 
    • $5 
    • 19 d
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Missy Gray 
Organizer
Perry, FL
Michelle Murphy 
Beneficiary