A Northern California hiker attacked by a mountain lion last week was airlifted to a San Francisco hospital, where he will likely undergo more surgery.
A spokesman for Mad River Community Hospital in Arcata said Sunday that doctors wanted to send 70-year-old Jim Hamm to a major research hospital in San Francisco after they performed emergency surgery on his scalp and downgraded his condition from fair to serious.
Hamm first underwent surgery Wednesday after a female mountain lion ambushed him at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. He and his wife, Nell, were hiking when the lion scalped him, mauled his face, ripped off part of his lips and inflicted other puncture wounds and scratches.
Hamm's wife, Nell, 65, smashed the cat in the snout with a large branch and stabbed it with a pen to fend off the attack, reports AP.
Hamm is taking antibiotics to prevent infection, but doctors remained concerned about bacteria entering his body from the cat's claws and mouth.
"Infection that's our biggest concern," Ayotte said.
After the lion attack, game wardens closed the park and shot and killed a pair of lions. Researchers identified the female as the attacker.