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Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Provides Care After Shark Attack

A young boy, with a cast on his lower right leg, lays in a medical bed while several medical professionals gather around him.
Group Photo
Blayne Brown is surrounded by his team of health care professionals at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 25, 2024. Brown was transported to the NMCCL Trauma Center from North Topsail Beach on June 23 after suffering extensive wounds to his right leg from a shark bite. Brown was cared for by a team of providers at NMCCL; he will soon travel home to West Virginia to complete recovery.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Wood
VIRIN: 240625-N-FB730-1003

I thank them for fixing me up and setting me up for a good recovery."
Blayne Brown

Blayne Brown was enjoying the last day of summer vacation with family when he was bitten by a shark in waist-deep water off the coast of North Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

"I didn't even see the shark," said 14-year-old Brown. "I sort of blacked out, walked toward the beach, and laid down, screaming. It felt like the shark was still on me." 

Around 1 p.m. on June 23, 2024, Brown was transported to the Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Level III Trauma Center for care. Upon arrival, he was triaged and swiftly taken into surgery to repair several tendons in his lower leg and staple deep bite wounds.

A team of many health care providers with NMCCL cared for Brown during his stay at the medical center. From the emergency room, operating room, to the multi-service ward, Brown has had a cadre of physicians, corpsmen, nurses and a physical therapist caring for him during his stay. 

"I thank them for fixing me up and setting me up for a good recovery," said Brown, who will soon travel back to his home state of West Virginia. 

Brown said he's expected to receive a boot for his leg in the next several weeks, and NMCCL recommended physical therapy to help with a speedy recovery. 

"We have a very talented, multi-disciplinary team," said Lt. Cmdr. Alainna Crotty, department head for inpatient units at NMCCL. "Everybody has come together to deliver quality care to a patient in need who was out of his home area. It showcases what military medicine can do." 

Brown's grandmother, Kandi Ramey, has been by his side during his medical center stay. For Ramey, the incident will be something her family never forgets. 

"I lost my granddaughter when she was six years old," Ramey shared. "And I couldn't live through that again." 

According to North Carolina State University's Sea Grant, shark bites will always be a present danger off the Carolina Coast, but the risk of shark bites for humans is small. 

For Brown, he has no immediate plans to dip his toes back into the ocean anytime soon. "I'll have these scars for the rest of my life, so maybe just ankle deep for a while." 

NMCCL has cared for warfighters and beneficiaries at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for more than 80 years. NMCCL is home to a Level III Trauma Center that has provided care for civilian beneficiaries in Eastern North Carolina since 2018.

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