Doctors Save Nearly Lifeless Hunter Whose Face Was Shredded By Grizzly Bear [VIDEO]

Doctors Save Nearly Lifeless Hunter Whose Face Was Shredded By Grizzly Bear [VIDEO]

There’s a good reason hikers and outdoorsmen fear bears… they maul and they kill. In Montana and Wyoming, when I was a kid, we were warned to be very careful of grizzly bears. They like to hang around women’s restrooms and camps. This brings back memories of that. A man from Pennsylvania came face to face with a grizzly bear and lived to tell the tale. Although, his face afterwards required reconstructive surgery… a lot of it. Doctors at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado are being credited with saving a man whose face was literally torn off by a grizzly bear.

Lee Brooke is a hunter. He went on a hunting trip to Wyoming and that is where he encountered the bear. The attack came early in October of 2016 near Dubois, Wyoming. Brooke, his brother-in-law George Neal and two friends set out to hunt elk. It would turn out to be a trip that turned his life upside down and almost killed him. He’s a Maytag repairman in a county of just over 40,000. Today, he depends on a tracheal tube to tell his story. Since the attack, his neighbors in Westfield, Pennsylvania have rallied to help Brooke and his wife pay their mountainous medical bills.

“I should’ve bled to death right there,” Brooke told his friends and neighbors. “I should’ve least drowned on my blood.” At first, the trip was a good one. Brooke had taken down an elk earlier in the day. But when he got to the elk, it had been covered by leaves, dirt, etc. That’s a sign that a bear has claimed the kill for herself and her cubs and buried it for a snack later. “I can still feel the adrenaline rush from seeing the elk,” Brooke said. He turned to get the heck out of there, but was snatched off the ground by the paws and claws of a giant grizzly bear, who grabbed him from behind.

It happened so fast, he didn’t even really know what hit him. His nose and upper lip were torn from his face. At some point, Brooke was knocked unconscious. “I felt her sniffing my cheek,” Brooke said, recalling the moment he regained consciousness. “I felt the whiskers.” He knew if he didn’t fight, the bear would finish him off. He just wanted to see his wife Martha again. Blood was flowing into his eyes and it was hard to see, much less fight. He hit the bear and she bit into his arm. He didn’t have his gun… just a steak knife in his pocket. “I don’t know that I would have been brave enough to stab her if I could see her,” Brooke said. “I had to lean in to stab her in the head. So I was this close to her nose.”

After stabbing her several times, the bear left. Brooke was separated from his hunting party, but his will to survive was strong. He didn’t feel any pain in his shock. He calls it a miracle. “I think that was a divine intervention,” Brooke said. He started yelling for help. After about an hour in the woods, a couple nearby heard him. They called for help, but Brooke’s brother-in-law Neal arrived first. “I could hear Lee down over the bank,” Neal said. He made the horrific find of Brooke’s nose and mustache first and put them in Brooke’s pocket. They started down the mountain to reach cellphone service. “I took my T-shirt off,” Neal said. “I tried to keep him warm. He was kind of shaking.” The shock could have as easily killed him as the blood loss.

A helicopter took Brook to the Swedish Medical Center in Englewood seven hours after the attack. He stayed there for five months and turned 60 while hospitalized. For a month, Brooke was in a medically induced coma at the Swedish Burn and Reconstructive Unit. He was in surgery for hours and they managed to save part of his nose. Blood from Brooke’s arm now feeds his nose. He said Colorado doctors could use what’s left of his nose to one day reconstruct a new one on his face. “Then I’ll be a new Lee,” he said. Gulp.

Brook had the best in the country working on him. “Between anesthesia, orthopedic, trauma — everyone was working on him,” Pulikkottil said. He spent three months going through one surgery after another. One lasted about 24 hours. He then spent two months in rehab exercising, learning how to eat again and overcoming physiological trauma. That’s one tough guy. Much of his face has been reconstructed with skin grafts from his right leg. They are keeping his nose alive on his arm thanks to a procedure using leaches to infuse blood flow. “The source we used was his radial artery in his arm,” Pulikkottil said. Dayum.

They will eventually rebuild Brooke’s nose and upper lip. His nostril will be key in that reconstructive surgery. “We’ll take cartilage from different parts of his body including his rib and his ears,” Pulikkottil said. The bones in his face were partially constructed with leg bone. He has metal plates and screws in his head now. I think he is just glad to be alive now and he’s forever grateful to the doctors who are putting him back together. Swedish said Brooke will be back in Colorado just after Christmas to start a series of reconstructive surgeries that could take about a year to complete.

This is why whenever you are out hunting, you keep your gun and knives with you and you shouldn’t be alone. Grizzlies are man killers and they are omnivores. They’ll eat you without a second thought. What a harrowing story.

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - She also does research at You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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