A young boy recovering from a shark attack is no longer in a deep coma and may soon be taken off his ventilator, doctors said Friday.
Eight-year-old Jessie Arbogast is making slow progress and was responding to some stimulation after his right arm was reattached following his attack by a 7-foot long bull shark a week ago. Doctors said they planned to slowly take him off a device used to help with his breathing.
"Jessie, neurologically, is our main focus right now. He is no longer in a deep coma," said Dr. Rob Patterson. He said the boy doesn't respond to light stimulation but "he is certainly responding to pain and deep stimulation, and we have every reason to be encouraged."
Doctors said the family is appreciative of the flowers, letters and e-mails they have received from people all over the world and remained focused on the health of their child.
"They have such a great sense of faith. Their faith is pulling them through," said Sister Jean Rhoads of Sacred Heart Children's Hospital. "They have a great sense of peace in their hearts. Their total focus remains on their son."
The shark attacked the Ocean Springs, Miss., boy while he was wading in knee-deep water on a Florida Panhandle beach July 6.
Jessie's uncle wrestled the shark to shore after the attack and a ranger shot the shark four times with a 9 mm pistol. After the ranger pried the shark's jaw open with a police baton, a volunteer firefighter used a clamp to pull the boy's severed arm out of its gullet.
The boy had no pulse and no blood pressure when he was airlifted to Baptist Hospital about 30 minutes after the attack.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.