TREATMENT AND RECOVERY AFTER A SERIOUS DOG BITE OR DOG ATTACK
Medical treatment after a serious dog attack
Dog bites can cause serious wounds and many types of injuries, including cuts, abrasions, lacerations, punctures, tissue loss, infection, and fractured bones. Dog bite wounds often leave disfiguring scars. When dogs attack, they frequently lunge for the victim’s face, which is especially vulnerable to scarring and disfigurement. Because of their small size and inability to protect themselves, young children are at high risk for severe injury in a dog attack.
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that after a dog bite attack the victim seeks prompt medical treatment to prevent infection and promote optimal healing. It is especially important to seek medical care when there is any sign of infection, such as redness, swelling, red streaking, and fever. Medical care is always indicated if the victim has a gaping wound, or one that does not stop bleeding, or open wounds on the face.
Some dog bites result in damage to deep tissue, nerves, even bone, which may require surgical repair. When disfiguring scars are likely, reconstructive or plastic surgery may be needed to perform skin and tissue grafts to close a wound, or rebuild the disfigured feature. Surgery may also repair or reattach damaged blood vessels so that the damaged area has a viable blood supply. Reconstructive surgery is often successful at reducing scars. Plastic surgeons may also use such techniques as pressure scar modification and dermabrasion to reduce scarring and disfigurement.
Our dog attack attorneys frequently consult with the plastic surgeons who treat our clients in order to understand not only the immediate medical consequences for the injured person but also the long-term prognosis for healing. Our dog attack lawyers ask surgeons for their recommendations for removing scars, or when that is not possible, for reducing them. The most dedicated and skillful plastic surgery cannot always prevent scarring. Many dog attack victims will carry permanent, residual scars for the rest of their lives.
Our dog bite attorneys may seek a comprehensive psychological evaluation in order to understand the psychological consequences of the trauma and the treatment recommendations for the individual’s recovery. Psychological evaluation is especially important in helping a young child resolve an experience of overwhelming terror and helplessness.
Our attorneys also seek to understand the effects of scarring in the victim’s daily life and work. We have represented models who have been attacked by a dog, and for whom scars had a dramatic, disastrous effect on their ability to continue at their accustomed work. People accustomed to swimming, going to the beach, or playing sports may find that scarring has compromised their ability to engage in familiar and rewarding activities.
Psychological consequences of dog attacks
The emotional trauma resulting from being attacked by a dog can be a significant element in many dog bite cases. Both children and adults may suffer post-traumatic distress disorder (PTSD), whose symptoms can include sleep disturbance, nightmares, daytime flashbacks of the attack, severe anxiety and irritability, impaired concentration, and persistent fear of dogs. These symptoms should be addressed through a psychologically informed approach as soon as possible after the dog attack to prevent lasting psychological consequences. Significant reduction in post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can often be obtained within a few sessions.
If the residual psychological symptoms are more pervasive, the treating professional may recommend longer-term psychotherapy. Such recommendations will be considered in the resolution of their case.
Our Main Office:
Carabin Shaw P.C.
630 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78215