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July 05, 2013 9:21 am

Grizzly attack victim out of hospital

Written by Gib Mathers

The Cody man who was attacked by a grizzly in June has been released from a Denver hospital, but he still has a long road to recovery.

Nic Patrick, 64, was attacked June 20 by a grizzly sow with cubs. His wife Joyce rushed him to a Cody hospital, and he was soon transferred to a Denver medical facility.

Officials have said — and Patrick said he agrees — they believed the bear was acting simply to protect her young when it attacked him at around 6 a.m. while he was irrigating.

Patrick has been at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, having his face rebuilt after the bear practically tore it off.

“Four or five surgeries to go,” Patrick said Wednesday as he waited for the doctors to release him from the hospital.

He will remain in Denver with friends for another week and undergo more operations, he said. Despite the horrific attack, he looked on the bright side during an extended telephone interview with the Powell Tribune.

“It could have been a whole lot worse,” Patrick said.

The 400-pound sow came after him twice, but not to kill, he said.

“Either time she could have taken me out,” Patrick said.

Patrick said the Aurora hospital has one of the largest ICU burn units in the region and he couldn’t praise his plastic surgeon enough.

Patrick said he also understands why the bear was where it was that morning. Global warming is driving bears out of traditional habitat where they could once find abundant cutthroat trout in gushing streams, white bark pine nuts and other plentiful edibles, he said.

Hopefully the sow that assaulted him found safety and lots of food in the high country, Patrick said. “I hope she can get up there and gets fat and sassy,” he said.

Meanwhile, friends and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department have offered to harvest the hay on his South Fork of the Shoshone River ranch where the incident occurred while he undergoes the surgeries and treatment, Patrick said.

Seven grizzlies were in the area when he was attacked. He said he is glad he suffered the injuries rather than family or friends. Patrick is enduring his experience and the aftermath of surgery with optimism and courage.

“It’s not the end of the world when something like this happens,” he said.

6 comments

  • Comment Link July 05, 2013 7:40 pm posted by Jon Jennings

    Patrick is an amazing human being! Thank you for being modest and compassionate in such difficult circumstances. I wish you a successful recovery and a long life. Your family and friends are fortunate to have you in their lives!

  • Comment Link July 07, 2013 1:08 pm posted by john s

    Oh My God. What a trooper, and he gets it. I hope that sow gets fat and sassy too.

  • Comment Link July 07, 2013 6:11 pm posted by Maggie Couch

    Nic Patrick is my hero. It takes a good, wise, wonderful person who not only forgives the bear that attacked him but understands why she did it and why her habitat is being taken away.

    If only there were more gentle, good people like Nic Patrick in this world! God bless him.

  • Comment Link July 09, 2013 6:42 am posted by Steve Moseley

    What an amazing attitude. What a world it would be if we could all have this man's intellect, understanding and perspective.

  • Comment Link July 09, 2013 7:24 am posted by Scott B.

    I'm very happy that Mr. Patrick is on the road to recovery, and that he harbors no ill will toward the sow that attacked him. However, to blame this on global warming is silly. The grizzly bear population has been steadily increasing since they were protected back in the mid 70s. At the same time, the whitebark pine trees, the seeds of which are a major source of food for grizzlies, have been ravaged by pine beetles and blister rust infection (caused by a fungus introduced accidentally from Europe many years ago). When populations go up and food supply goes down, the grizzlies are forced to change their habits and look elsewhere for food. Global warming had nothing to do with that sow and her cubs occupying Mr. Patrick's domain...

  • Comment Link July 11, 2013 12:15 pm posted by Tumblewood

    I think Mr. Patrick is very lucky to be alive. I am glad that you survived, although we will disagree on the reality involved. I have to agree with Scott B , the real facts are that their are entirely too many bears and the habitat is saturated. The only real solution is delisting the Bears, allowing our local game and fish establish a harvesting program to bring the volume of bears into a viable status.
    Global warming is the greatest hoax yet !
    I hope you heal up and start to realize the real truth

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