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Emergency care for animal bites

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2014 | Animal Bites & Attacks

New Jersey residents who are victims of a dog bite or another type of animal attack will likely need to visit an emergency room to get the wound treated. Once at the hospital, medical staff may anesthetize the injured area for the comfort of the patient and to allow thorough examination of the bite wound by a doctor.

If necessary, a doctor will perform wound debridement, which involves the removal of dead tissue and foreign bodies from the wound area, in order to help prevent infection. This process also helps reduce scarring. The bite will then be irrigated to clean and sanitize the wound. Saline or water may be used to irrigate most wounds, however, the Centers for Disease Control recommends an anti-viral solution of povidone-iodine be used in cases where rabies may be a concern.

After a wound is thoroughly cleaned, it will be closed. Studies indicate bite wounds that are closed primarily have a low infection rate and improved cosmetic outcomes. However, in cases where a wound cannot be effectively cleansed or was left untreated for eight hours or more, a doctor may delay wound closure.

Following complete wound care, a patient may be given antibiotics. A tetanus booster shot may also be recommended. If rabies is a threat, a doctor will explain the required rabies vaccine treatment. Depending on the severity of the bite wound, a patient may be released to go home or kept at the hospital for further observation.

Any New Jersey resident who suffers a dog bite bite may find the guidance of an attorney beneficial. New Jersey is a strict liability state, which means that a dog owner does not have to be found negligent in order to be found liable. A victim only needs to prove a bite occurred to seek compensation for medical costs.

Source: The Star Ledger, “$500k dog bite settlement sheds light on victim-friendly laws in N.J.”, Julia Turruso, Feb. 2, 2013

Source: Medscape, “Emergency Department Care“, December 05, 2014