A doctor vacationing in Florida saved a girl’s life at the beach after this nightmare situation

Jul 1, 2024

A vacation is supposed to be a chance to relax and unwind.

Instead, a doctor found himself in one of the toughest moments of his life. 

And a doctor vacationing in Florida saved a girl’s life at the beach after this nightmare situation.

Doctor saves the life of a teenage girl attacked by a shark

The Florida panhandle was hit with a burst of shark attacks near each other around the Fort Walton Beach area.

Three shark attacks happened on a four-mile stretch of beach within two hours of each other. 

Lulu Gribbin, a 15-year-old, was on a mother-daughter trip to the beach when she went out into the water with five friends to look for sand dollars.

She was seriously injured in a shark attack and had to be carried to shore.

Dr. Ryan Forbess, nurses, emergency medical technicians, and his friend, and fellow doctor, sprang into action to save her life.

They managed to stabilize her until she could be airlifted to a local hospital.

“My friend Dr. (Mohammed) Ali and I vacation together yearly at 30 Rosemary Beach, so I was boogie boarding with my son, who was boarding with his daughter,” Forbess told WBRC. “Then, all of a sudden, we heard a lot of commotion to the left of us while we were in the water.”

The doctors left the water and instinct kicked in when they saw the severity of the situation.

“They pulled the girl out onto the beach, and then we were able to start working on getting the blood stopped, and we were able to get tourniquets to secure her airway,” Forbess continued.

Doctors at the hospital said that she almost did not make it.

“She was going in and out of consciousness,” Forbess added. “She was up talking, but she was in and out.”

Forbess credited the teamwork of the group for making the difference.

“It was a lucky team effort with a lot of people there,” Forbess said. “There were some nurses there who were amazing. There were EMTs, and then Dr. Ali, he is an interventional radiologist, so he was able to find the areas to help stop the bleeding until the first responders got there.”

Gribbin left the hospital recently to get specialty care after losing her hand and part of her leg.

Doctor honored for heroism in saving girl’s life at the beach

Forbess was honored for his heroism by his hometown of Orange Beach, Alabama.

Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon called Forbess “our local hero.”

A plaque noted that the work of him, Dr. Ali, and others saved the teenaged girl’s life.

“Whereas, while on his annual family vacation at Rosemary Beach, Florida, Dr. Forbess and his best friend Dr. Mohammed Ali were in the Gulf of Mexico with their children on Friday, June 7th when nearby a teenage girl suffered life-threatening injuries from a shark attack,” the plaque states.

“Whereas, seeing the severity of the situation, both doctors as well as other medical professionals on vacation, including an EMT and ER nurse, sprang into action and put their expertise to work to save the young woman’s life…” the plaque added.

Swift action by the doctors and medical professionals at the beach prevented the worst from happening.

DeSantis Daily will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.

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