The 32-year-old victim of a severe and vicious attack by four Rottweilers on a Garsfontein plot whereshe worked has died while undergoing treatment at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.
The woman was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition after dogs staged a frenzied attack on her as she worked in the garden of the Pretoria East plot last Tuesday.
The dogs bit chunks of flesh from her body and exposed bone at some parts of her body. She was left with broken bones, tendons and muscles, and flesh and skin were removed from several places, including the back of her head.
When paramedics arrived, she was unconscious and lying in a pool of blood where a security guard, after hearing her screams for help, had managed to drag her after freeing her from the dogs.
“She was severely traumatised as a result of the dog bites,” Netcare 911 spokesman Jeff Wicks said. He said they resuscitated her and rushed her to hospital where she was immediately taken into theatre. The lower half of her left leg was amputated.
Hospital spokeswoman Freda Kobo said the woman died while being given emergency treatment.
“She passed away on Tuesday,” Kobo said, adding that no further information could be given without the consent of the family.
Medical staff had described her condition soon after she was admitted as critical, saying she had been badly savaged.
Her body was broken and bruised and she had to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
There, the woman was put on a ventilator to assist her in breathing, as she was unable to do so on her own.
The hospital’s head of nursing, Dr Kobie Marais, had said at the time the patient was being kept heavily sedated in the ICU while a team of specialists monitored her closely. The specialist team of maxo-facial, orthopaedic and plastic surgeons had taken the woman into theatre three times during her stay in the hospital. Her wounds were examined and cleaned and they made sure the injuries were kept as sterile as possible, said Marais.
The woman would have faced a long and gruelling recovery and recuperation process because of the extent of her injuries, a doctor at the hospital said on Thursday. “Her body was in serious trauma from the emotional and physical shock of the attack. It appears (the attack) was frenzied and prolonged,” said the doctor, who requested anonymity.
He said the injuries on her arms and legs – deep wounds, broken nails, fingers and bones – were indicative of being pulled from all angles, and her attempts at putting up a fight.
“A hosepipe was her only weapon against four strong dogs.”
The family had been given counselling to help them deal with the situation which has now been extended to bereavement counselling. The family was unavailable for comment on Thursday.
The Pretoria News has not been able to establish the fate of the dogs, but municipal by-laws state that people are not allowed to let vicious dogs outside the premises. The animals are supposed to be kept in and not get into contact with people, run after cars, animals and poultry.
The by-laws give authorised officers the right to impound vicious dogs if they pose a threat to society.
Police said their hands were tied by the fact that no case had been opened.
Spokeswoman Captain Pinky Tsinyane: “Because we have no information whatsoever, we have nothing to go on.”
She said an investigation could only be launched when a charge had been laid and certain vital information had been given to the police.