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November 17, 2019

Boy mauled by dogs put on ventilator at NICH


November 17, 2019

The condition of six-year-old Hasnain from Larkana, whose face and scalp was bitten off by a pack of stray dogs, is still critical and he has been put on life support at the National Institute of Child Health (NICH), where doctors are continuously monitoring him and trying to save his life, officials said on Saturday.

“The boy is on ventilator at the moment, following the reconstruction surgery by a team of surgeons from the NICH and the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre [JPMC],” NICH Director Prof Jamal Raza told The News.

“Hasnain is expected to remain on life support for the next three to four days, and then a board of doctors will review his condition and decide further treatment.”

The minor had been mauled by five to six stray dogs in Larkana on Thursday. They had bitten off most of his face, including his nose, both cheeks, eyelids, one of the ears and part of his scalp.

The child was brought from Larkana to Karachi’s Indus Hospital, from where he was taken to the NICH, where a team of surgeons performed a life-saving

reconstruction surgery on him.

Prof Raza said the boy’s condition is stable but it is still critical, and to save his life, he has been put on life support while a team of experts is continuously monitoring him.

“At the moment we are more concerned about saving the child’s life. When he is out of danger, more surgeries will be planned to reconstruct his face,” he said, adding that any decision to send him abroad will be taken when he is out of danger.

Dr Anwar Arain, one of the surgeons who led the reconstruction surgery, told the media that the dogs had bitten off most of the face, and to save his life, they had reconstructed his cheeks and eyelids. “If he survives, the patient will require a lot more surgeries for the reconstruction of his nose and other organs and tissues of his face. We are hopeful of his survival and praying after doing our work.”

Savage attack

Hasnain had just stepped out of his home to fetch something from a nearby shop, his father Ghulam Hussain told the media on Friday, when a pack of five to six dogs attacked him and mauled him almost to death by biting most of his face and scalp off.

“By the time some passers-by reached there, the dogs had bitten off his entire face, including both cheeks, nose, ears, eyelids and most of the skin on his head. We took him to the Chandka Medical Centre, but after giving some initial treatment, the medical superintendent asked us to take him to Karachi to save his life.”

But the worse had yet to come for the critically injured boy and his family after they were refused treatment by the Indus Hospital’s administration, citing lack of an intensive care unit and space, and the Civil Hospital Karachi’s administration also refused to admit the child, asking them to take him to the JPMC.

“Neither the government hospital in Larkana nor two hospitals in Karachi tried to save the life of my child. At last I managed to reach the NICH, where doctors have performed an hours-long surgery and are trying to save his life,” Hussain said. He cursed Sindh’s government and health authorities for their failure to provide treatment to the poor people of the province.

A team of four surgeons — plastic surgeon Ghulam Shabir and maxillofacial surgeon Dr Jahan-e-Alam from the JPMC, and Dr Anwar Arain and Dr Jamshaid of the NICH — performed the surgery and tried to reconstruct the face of the child.

Dr Jamal Raza had said that prior to the surgery the child was vaccinated against rabies and other infectious diseases, while he was being given every possible treatment to save his life. He had urged the parents to take care of their children and protect them from stray dogs, which could cause life-threatening injuries.

JPMC Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali had said she sent her two surgeons to the NICH to help their surgeons with the face reconstruction surgery. She deplored that incidents of canine attacks, especially against children, were on the rise with every passing day.

“There is an immediate need to control the population of stray dogs as early as possible or we would continue to see deaths and misery due to canine attacks in Karachi and the rest of the province. It is to be decided whether to kill them or lock them up somewhere away from the city immediately, but we don’t have time to wait for their population to end through sterilisation.”