Shark attack left this man in severe pain, but what he found out later saved his life

December 1, 2017 3:07 pm Last Updated: December 1, 2017 3:54 pm

If Eugene Finney told you that a shark saved him, it might not sound possible. But it happened.

Finney was out on the west coast visiting his parents in California. On the trip, he brought his two children and girlfriend, Emeline McKeown.

On July 8, 2015, the family went to Huntington Beach to enjoy the sand and sun. Finney swam in the ocean with his daughter, Temple while McKeown stayed on the beach with 6-year-old Turner, the Mercury News reported.

While Finney was in the water, the unexpected happened—he was struck hard by an unknown object.


“Something struck me from behind. I’d never been hit like that before. It was pretty jarring. It kind of gave me an instant whiplash,” he told CBS Boston.

When he came out of the ocean he was bleeding.

“That’s when my daughter said to me, Daddy, how come your back is all bloody?” he said.

It turns out Finney had a long gash down his back. Not long afterwards, shark fins were spotted by beachgoers.

“The lifeguards started pulling everybody out of the water,” McKeown said.


For the remainder of his stay in California, Finney was in significant pain. His chest and back hurt. The plane ride on the way back to Massachusetts exacerbated his discomfort, and he couldn’t sleep, according to The Mercury Times.

Finney then sought treatment at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton. After running various tests, the doctors found the cause.

“The pain was caused by interior bruising of the thoracic cavity due to blunt force trauma,” Finney told CBS Boston.

But that was not all the doctors discovered. Lab results revealed a tumor on Finney’s right kidney. It was Stage 1 cancer.

Finney was taken aback to say the least.


“When you’re told you have cancer, all these horrible things start running through your mind,” Finney said.

Luckily, doctors at St. Elizabeth were able to remove the tumor with minimally invasive surgery. No radiation or chemotherapy were even needed, reported The Mercury Times.

“I feel fortunate. I really feel like I’ve gotten a second chance at life, and I’m not going to blow it,” Finney shared.

Would Finney have gone to the hospital if not for the possible shark attack? Very unlikely.

This is one shark attack tale where the shark saved a man.

“It could have bitten me,” Finney said to The Mercury Times, “but it nudged me just enough.”