August 3, 2013

Maine attorney released from intensive care after polar bear attack

Matthew Dyer was released from an intensive care unit Friday morning, though he still faces a lengthy recuperation.

By David Hench
Staff Writer

The legal aid lawyer who was attacked by a polar bear in Canada last week has been released from the intensive care unit of a Montreal hospital.

Matthew Dyer was released from intensive care Friday morning, though he still faces a lengthy recuperation, according to his wife, Jeanne Wells.

“He's improving rapidly now, though comfortable talking is still a ways off,” Wells said in an email.

Dyer, a staff attorney for Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Lewiston, is recuperating at Montreal General Hospital from the attack during an excursion in Torngat Mountains National Park, at the northern end of Canada‘s Labrador peninsula. One of the bears that are common in the park at this time of year apparently broke through an electrified fence and bit Dyer, who had been sleeping in a tent, park officials have said.

Dyer had a temporary breathing tube to make sure the swelling in his neck did not obstruct his breathing, Wells said earlier this week.

Wells said doctors at the hospital now have equipped Dyer with a speaking valve that allows him to speak in spite of the temporary tracheostomy, which will remain until after his broken jaw is repaired.

Wells said the family will be considering over the next week whether Dyer’s surgery and recovery should be done in Montreal or closer to home.

Dyer, a well-known advocate who has worked extensively on behalf of low-income tenants, has received messages of support from throughout the Lewiston area and elsewhere in the state.

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