Local dentist attacked by shark says he’s on the mend

Dr. Steve Cutbirth after the attack. (Courtesy photo)
Dr. Steve Cutbirth after the attack. (Courtesy photo)(KWTX)
Published: Jul. 23, 2016 at 3:18 PM CDT
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Dr. Steve Cutbirth, the Waco restorative dentist who was attacked by a shark while on a family vacation in the Bahamas over the weekend, says his recovery is going well.

Cutbirth was free diving and spear fishing with his son-in-law and two experienced guides when the attack happened.

In a phone interview Monday afternoon from the Bahamas, Cutbirth says he visited the local clinic Monday where he was taken after the attack on Saturday.

He said his wounds were healing as expected.

There is no doctor on the island, so a nurse, who had never before treated a shark bite, sutured his injuries while Cutbirth, who has performed thousands of surgeries, guided her through the procedure.

“She did a wonderful job,” Cutbirth said.

Cubirth reiterated he doesn’t want people to blame the shark.

He says he believes the shark was already agitated from blood in the water from a fish that his son-in-law had just speared nearby, when he speared a 10-pound fish.

“The shark was just doing what sharks are supposed to do which is keep the ocean clean by eating dead or injured fish,” Cutbirth said.

“Out of nowhere, I felt like I was hit by a freight train in the head,” Cutbirth said.

“He kept hitting me, so I started knocking him off with my arm,” Cutbirth said. “He finally took off with the fish.”

The shark knocked off Cutbirth’s mask, before biting him in the face and right leg.

Cutbirth thinks he has a total of about 30 stitches on his right leg and face, but knows it could have been much worse.

“Life is about timing and luck. And this was just one that caught up with me, but this one has a very happy ending.”

Meanwhile, Cutbirth says he’ll be returning to Waco Friday with quite a tale to tell and the scars to prove it.

“I won’t be as handsome as I was,” Cutbirth joked.

“But I will have that edgy look.”

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