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Doctors Studying Stingrays and Other Hazardous Marine Life

Our team recently met Dr. Christanne Coffey, a UCSD Professor focusing on Wilderness Medicine. One of her focus areas is exploring how medical providers understand and treat injuries from wildlife like: sharks, jellyfish, and stingrays. Her team previously collaborated with San Diego lifeguards on a pilot study1 looking at rates of infections and complications from stingray injuries. They have launched a new study this year, partnering with lifeguard stations across the nation to survey beach goers who have recently been stung by stingrays, and are gathering a ton of data about stingray injuries. They’re exploring how often people get stung, where they get stung, if they were wearing anything on their feet, how much pain they experience, and many other factors.

Dr Coffey’s survey is still ongoing, but we’ll be very excited to read it when it is published! In the meantime she referred us to a similar study conducted by Dr. Robert Katzer at UC Irvine, another Professor specializing in Emergency Medicine. Some statistics from his work that jumped out at us:

  • 22% of study participants went to a physician for their injury2
  • 32% of study participants still had some pain a month after injury!2
  • 5% of study participants reported unchanged pain a month after the injury!2 😱

It’s encouraging to hear that injuries from stingrays and other hazardous marine life are being actively researched to help us better understand how to avoid and treat them. The findings of the Katzer et al. paper are pretty frightening, but we’re channeling this as motivation to develop and improve DragonSkin® stingray-resistant booties. We’re always happy to learn about more great work in this field, and we are hopeful that we can collaborate with the researchers in the future.

Images of Dr. Coffey and Dr. Katzer

  1. Myatt T, Nguyen B, Clark R, Coffey C, O’Connell C. A Prospective Study of Stingray Injury and Envenomation Outcomes. J Emerg Med. 2018;55(2):213-217.
  2.  Katzer, R., Schultz, C., Pham, K., & Sotelo, M. (2022). The Natural History of Stingray Injuries. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 37(3), 350-354. doi:10.1017/S1049023X22000565