An 11-year-old Royal Palm Beach girl who was attacked by a dog two weeks ago is facing a major complication in her recovery.
Jacklyn Tucker underwent emergency plastic surgery to repair tissue in her top lip and nose June 19 after her friend's dog attacked her during a sleepover. Doctors at St. Mary's Medical Center feared that her body would not incorporate the tissue, so they added hyperbaric oxygen therapy to her treatment to encourage blood flow to the tissue and promote healing.
Now, two weeks later, the tissue has not been incorporated, and Jacklyn faces a long road ahead in her healing process.
"Without a vessel-to-vessel attachment, I knew that it wouldn't take completely," said Dr. David Rankin, the head of plastic surgery at St. Mary's. "But we wanted to minimize the morbidity of future procedures."
Rankin said when Jacklyn was brought in that night, her entire upper lip and part of her nose was severed. The piece of tissue the dog had bitten was brought in with her and evaluated for vessel-to-vessel reattachment. That was not possible, so Rankin said doctors had to reattach the piece of tissue in layers, starting with the muscle, up to the skin, lip and nose.
Once doctors determined that the surgery and hyperbaric therapy were not successful in incorporating the tissue fully, they halted hyperbaric therapy Sunday. Rankin said Jacklyn will be transferred to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital today to see a surgeon who specializes in complex reconstruction.
Jacklyn's dad, Jack Tucker, has been by his daughter's bedside since the beginning. He said this morning that Jacklyn's top lip and part of her nose have turned black, a clear sign that her body did not accept the tissue. However, he said, "she's holding up."
The incident happened as Tucker was at a friend's house for a sleepover. She told her dad that the Jack Russell terrier and English bulldog mix named Tanker attacked her after she fell off the family's couch. The dog bit her side and face. A Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control report said the dog's owner told an officer he picked Jacklyn's lips "off the floor to give them to EMS."
The owner surrendered the dog to Animal Care and Control. The dog's owners had not been given a citation.
Jack Tucker, a tow-truck driver, has not been able to work since Jacklyn's been in the hospital.
A fundraiser is planned for July 26 to help with Jacklyn's mounting medical costs. Park Avenue BBQ Grille in Wellington will donate 25 percent of its proceeds that day to Jacklyn, and The law offices of William Abramson will host a raffle. The top prize is an iPad 3, donated by Abramson's office. Second prize is a 32-inch flat screen TV, donated by Badcock Furniture, and the third prize is a $100 gift card to Park Avenue BBQ Grille.
Tickets are $5 and can be purchased by calling Abramson's office at (561) 650-1898.
Those who wish to make monetary donations can do so by visiting any Chase Bank, where a trust fund has been created for Jacklyn — Account Number 3033381868.