WARNING: This story contains disturbing details.
A team of health-care professionals in Halifax wasn’t sure they would be able to save a Nova Scotia woman’s lip after it was bitten off in an unprovoked dog attack.
“The plastic surgeon told me: ‘We’ve never done this before because, usually, like a finger is a pretty straight cut — this is torn, mangled. We have no idea,'” Carolyn Deschenes said.
Having been around dogs her entire life, Deschenes says she is heartbroken over the incident and doesn’t place blame on anyone.
She was petting an on-leash dog who belonged to an acquaintance when the incident happened.
“I was petting him and I looked down and all of a sudden he just came up, and it was so fast I had no idea what happened,” she said.
Deschenes ended up spending several weeks in hospital and undergoing four blood transfusions to repair her lip.
Leech therapy was a major part of her treatment. Every hour, one or two leeches would be placed on her lip to help remove the excess blood.
“The blood flows in through the artery and then they have to wait for the veins to actually develop so the leeches help to take the blood out so I was constantly bleeding. I looked like a vampire,” Deschenes said.
The dog had passed all behaviour tests before being adopted, and while the injury was traumatic, Deschenes says she’s looking forward to recovering from what she considers to be a freak accident.
“It’s amazing what an instant can do to your life. Just one flash and a second and it’s all changed. It was just like I wasn’t even feeling anything. I don’t know what went through the dog’s mind because it didn’t seem aggravated,” she said.
The medical professionals who treated Deschenes expect her recovery to take roughly one year.