By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
PUBLIC Hospitals Authority officials yesterday said there was no record of a “shark attack emergency call” placed into the National Emergency Medical Services dispatch centre the day an American teenager became the victim of a vicious shark attack.
According to international reports, Johnny Stoch, a 15-year-old from Homer Township, Illinois, was bitten in the leg by a shark on August 7 while snorkelling with his family in the Bahamas. However, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune, no ambulance or paramedics came to his aid.
The shark reportedly bit off a sizable chunk of the boy’s leg, but missed nerves, tendons, and blood vessels. Doctors were reportedly forced to reconstruct the teen’s damaged calf muscle.
The article did not say whether Johnny’s family contacted National Emergency Medical Services (NEMS), which falls under the PHA, or Doctors Hospital for help. However, Johnny’s father John Stoch was reported as saying: “On Sunday, it’s hard to get an ambulance. They threw us in the back of a pickup truck.”
As a result, the Stoch family, which included Johnny’s mother Donna, as well as his 11-year-old brother Jacob, reportedly embarked on an “hour-long journey” through traffic on the way to Doctors Hospital, with Mrs Stoch and Mr Stoch holding Johnny’s head and feet for the duration of the ride.
Yesterday, PHA Director of Communications Judy Terrell-Hamilton told The Tribune that the NEMS Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System showed “no record of a shark attack emergency call” on the day in question.
Mrs Terrell-Hamilton also denied there being a possible shortage of emergency response units available on the day in question, adding that on the day and time in question, there were four units assigned to New Providence and one to Paradise Island.
When contacted, an official at Doctors Hospital said the hospital does not release that kind of information.
“The (CAD) system shows no record of a shark attack emergency call on Sunday, August 7, 2016,” Mrs Terrell-Hamilton said in an email yesterday.
“The operation of the National Emergency Medical Services is a 24-hour, seven day a week service. The delivery of service is not impacted.
“On the day and time in question, there were four units assigned to New Providence and one to Paradise Island.”
Nonetheless, Johnny’s attitude post-attack has been “pretty good,” according to international reports. Johnny has reportedly said he still remains a fan of sharks, despite the dangerous encounter.
“I don’t blame (the shark) at all,” he told ABC News. “I still like them. I’m not afraid of them.”
In late July, a 62-year-old dentist from Texas was attacked by a 6-foot bull shark while free diving in waters near Green Turtle Cay, Abaco.
Dr Steve Cutbirth, of Waco, was spear fishing with his son-in-law and two guides when the attack happened.