Twenty-nine of 108 patients who presented to our hospital setting needed hospitalization after preliminary treatment based on the discussed treatment algorithm. Among these 29 patients, 20 patients (69%) were hospitalized for a short term of 1–3 days. Nine patients (31%) needed 4–11 days of extended hospitalization.
The biggest reason for extended hospitalization in these 9 patients was infection. Other reasons included reimplantation failure, concurrent injuries such as skull fracture and subarachnoid hematoma. Most of these patients were among the groups who received IV antibiotics at the outside hospital for 48 hours without any improvement and was referred to Westchester Medical Center for further care. Most notable was that of the 9 patients with extended hospitalization, 6 (66.7%) were caused by a pit bull that confirms our theory that this breed results in the most devastating injuries at our center. The penetrating and crushing nature of these bites can lead to lifelong deformities (Figs. 4–7).
It is important to note that due to the retrospective nature of the medical record data, certain variables such as breed of dog could not be independently verified. Our center may also have an inherent bias toward treating the most complicated cases that cannot be treated at a typical community hospital and therefore our data may be skewed toward the patient population with more devastating injuries caused by “larger biting dogs.” Similarly, we may have a bias toward under reporting of the postoperative complications because many patients were referred from centers hours away and would have reported any outcomes-related issues to their primary doctor. In summary, dog bite injuries remain a common form of pediatric trauma that require medical attention, with potential psychological and emotional sequelae in children.12 Hence, to address these injuries, it is of utmost importance to seek care at medical centers that have available trauma, plastic surgery, and psychological support services.
Parents or guardian provided written consent for the use of the patients’ images.
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